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5 Reasons Why You May Not Need 10,000 Steps Per Day

In spite of what activity trackers tell you, you don’t necessarily need 10,000 steps per day to stay fit

10,000 steps per day
Photo by Emma Simpson

The magic number: 10,000 steps a day keeps the doctor away and our bodies in top condition. Especially those of us who have received (with mixed emotions) a FitBit for a Christmas or birthday gift!

Most of us take it as a medically proven and recommended fact, but that just ain’t necessarily so. Sure, 10,000 steps per day can help, but not for every age groups and lifestyle. And in some cases, that number may actually not be enough.

Find out if 10,000 steps per day could be right or wrong for you below:


1. 10,000 steps per day is just a random number

10000 steps per day
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Surprise surprise! 10,000 steps per day is not a scientifically researched benchmark, but was first conceived back in 1965, when a Japanese company developed a pedometer it called Manpo-kei, or the “10,000 Steps Meter” in English. But it’s practically been taken as gospel every since.


2. Those who aren’t currently active may be able to get by with less

10000 steps per day
Photo by Gina Santangelo

Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has done extensive research on the topic, and suggests that if you want to improve your health, figure out how many steps you usually take on a daily basis. Then use that as a baseline and try to take 2,000 steps more.


3. If you focus on reducing stationary sitting time, you may need fewer steps

10000 steps per day
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“If you just break up your sitting time, you’ll significantly lower your risk for chronic diseases,” Ross Arena, head of the department of physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Applied Health Sciences, told the Wall Street Journal. Setting an alarm for an activity break every 60-90 minutes can help. Even normal physical chores like window washing, organizing closets and taking out the trash counts.


4. More mature females may need less than half of that number

10000 steps per day
Photo by Alex Motoc

A study that tracked over 16,000 women between the ages of 62 and 101 for more than four years found that the biggest drop in death rates was seen among women taking around 4,400 steps per day. Not that you shouldn’t take more if you choose to.


5. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may need more

10000 steps per day
Photo by Eddi aguirre

If you’d like to drop a few pounds and 10,000 steps is already your norm, you’ll only burn excess calories if you go above and beyond that and shake up your personal status quo. But once you get to your ideal weight, in order to maintain that, you may be able to reduce that number again.

Now to get some ideas on how to look cute and be sustainable while you’re walking. Click here.

In spite of what activity trackers tell you, you don’t necessarily need 10,000 steps per day to stay fit.