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Are 10,000 Steps Necessary?

Fewer steps matter for older women.

Are some of your clients obsessed with achieving their step counts every day? While 10,000 steps is a popular marker, it turns out that taking as few as 4,400 steps per day is associated with a lower risk of death for women with a mean age of 72 years.

“Clearly, even a modest number of steps was related to lower mortality rate among these older women,” said principal investigator I-Min Lee, MBBS ScD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Among the findings: Health benefits seem to top out at 7,500 daily steps. This does not address recommended quantities for weight loss, however, and while 10,000 steps may be based on arbitrary marketing, it’s still a worthy goal. The message: Any step amount, not just the 10,000-step mark, has merit.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine (2019; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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