Apr 11, 2024 Do you really need 10,000 steps a day?

We are often advised that we need to take 10,000 steps a day, however, the latest science suggests, anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 steps can be just enough to give you those same benefits that walking 10,000 steps a day does!

Cardiologist, Jeffrey Lander, MD, FACC, Co-Director of Sports Cardiology for RWJBarnabas Health and Medical Director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center explains why.

“Many people currently take 5,000 steps per day by doing everyday activities like housework and shopping,” states Dr. Lander. “Then, if you add in roughly a half hour of exercise daily, you would be adding in another 2,000 to 3,000 steps, getting you to reach between 7,000 and 8,000 steps, which seems to be the step sweet spot.”

“Walking 10,000 steps a day or more isn’t bad for people, but it doesn’t add that many more benefits. No matter your age, the total number of steps you take does appear to matter more than the speed at which you take them,” he explains.

Dr. Lander also explained that regular walking not only contributes to a good step count, but helps improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps maintain a healthy weight, improves your circulation, and strengthens bones and muscles.

Increasing your step counts by even a few thousand strides on most days could be an achievable goal. “I suggest starting with an increase of about 500 to 1,000 steps a day,” shared Dr. Lander. “Every week or two, try accumulating another 500 to 1,000 steps until you reach your goal.”

The older you are, the less efficient you are with your steps. Per step, older people expend more energy. As a result, they need fewer steps to achieve the same benefits. Intensity has the potential to amplify the health benefits of walking, but only slightly.

Ultimately, the ideal step count is one that aligns with your individual health goals, while it also feels achievable and sustainable. It can differ from person to person. Some individuals may benefit from more or fewer steps based on their specific health goals and activity levels.

About CBMC’s Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Care
No one plans on heart problems. But everyone should have a plan for them. Take that extra step, and make a plan for your heart health at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center. Our multidisciplinary team of experts provide comprehensive, compassionate care. Learn more about our programs and specialties, which include diagnosis, treatment, and continued support for people living with cardiovascular and thoracic conditions.