Show of hands: who here has every felt personally attacked by the built-in pedometer in their Fit Bit, iPhone, or Apple Watch? Who here has cringed when the alert pops up, telling you there's still time to meet your step goal for the day? How many of us have walked laps around our living room, just to hit the 10,000 steps our devices have told us is the goal on a daily basis? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you are not alone. Sure, some days you hit that 10k and blow right past it because your toddler has suddenly decided that they're an Olympic sprinter. Other days you spend more time on the couch because that's what your body and mind needed that day. But we've been led to believe that 10,000 steps a day is what we should be striving for to keep us healthy and fit. However, as it turns out, we may all be taking too many damn steps. New research suggests that most women don't actually need to walk 10,000 steps a day, and would be perfectly fine with 3/4 of that amount. Our feet will be so happy!
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital looked at the correlation between longevity and that fabled 10,000 steps a day goal. What they found was kind of surprising! The key to living a long life and becoming one of those mall walkers in retirement isn't hitting 10k steps a day. In fact, most women can get away with walking about 7.500 steps a day and still see the same results. The research team followed more than 16,000 women with a median age of 72. They found that women who walked more definitely did tend to live longer, but the benefit of walking on the mortality rate leveled off at 7,500 steps. In other words, walking more than that had no discernible benefit to longevity.
Those last 2,500 steps are just for funsies, apparently.
Like we said, we often blow right past that 10,000 steps goal (thanks, kids!). But it's nice to know that the days we don't quite get there are still beneficial. Any amount of physical activity is going to help, even if it is just walking (chasing) after your toddler.