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Is 10,000 Steps a Day the Right Number?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

August 21, 2019 – New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggests that the magical goal of 10,000 steps a day might not be the right number. The research, conducted among women aged 62 to 101, found that the quartile that averaged 4,400 steps a day had a 41% increase in longevity compared to the lowest quartile, which averaged only 2,700 steps. There were modest longevity gains in the third quartile (average of 7,500 steps), but no noticeable improvement in the 4th quartile (more than 7,500).

Courtesy of Ricardo Esquivel 

The magic number of 10,000 steps appears to have little if any scientific basis. It appears to have been started by a Japanese company that manufactured a pedometer, whose Japanese name meant 10,000 steps meter in English. One thing that 10,000 steps would do for you is to get you closer to an average of 30 minutes of exercise per day, although it is not clear that would result in an improvement over a more modest amount.

How many steps do you take a day?

All of this leads us to want to find out more about your exercise habits. Perhaps group encouragement can help us all improve, because what is the point of retirement if we are not healthy enough to enjoy it? Know also that as we age our muscles and bones get weaker, only exercise can help stave this off.

Please take a few minutes to answer some or all of these questions in the Comments section below (use a pseudonym if you want to remain anonymous):

  1. How many steps do you take in a day (such as, fewer than 5,000, more than 10,000, I have no idea, etc.
  2. Do you use an app or device to keep track? If so, which one (Fitbit, Applewatch, etc.)
  3. What is your major form of exercise?
  4. How many times a week or hours per week do you exercise?
  5. Do you do any kind of stretching?
  6. How would like you describe your overall physical condition (poor, average, great, etc.)?

PS – In case you didn’t realize it, most smartwatches do include a step counter. On an Iphone, for example, go to the Heart symbol (Health) and it will show your daily total as well as other facts.

See “Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day?”

Posted by Admin on August 21st, 2019


  1. 1. Anywhere from 8,000 to 16,000. Depends on time available and weather
    2. I have used a Fitbit but, now simply convert miles to steps assuming an average of 2,000 steps per mile
    3. Walking, trail hiking and using an elliptical machine
    4. Daily walks and five days a week on the elliptical
    5. Very little. Should do more but, I get bored when not moving
    6. Average. I know a lot of people my age that are far more active

    by Tim B — August 21, 2019

  2. 1. I take between 5000-8000 a day without trying .i am 62 and retired.
    2. I use a Fitbit
    3. Walking dogs 1.5 miles per day
    4. 5-7 days
    5. Yes I do minor stretching
    6. I consider myself fairly healthy but I have significant back limitations so I take it easy on myself

    by Sue — August 21, 2019

  3. I get close to 10,000 every day. Use an Applewatch and love it for the tracking. Biking and swimming, occasional jogging (3 times a week in total). Plus tennis. Some stretching and a few pilates exercises almost every day. Very good condition and I feel good! So lucky. Probably do more than I need to in terms of exercise, but it makes me feel like I can move easier and not get so stiff.

    by Ken — August 21, 2019

  4. 1. My phone is set for a minimum of 6000, but since retiring and getting out of the office I tend to log many more – usually more than 10K.

    2. I’ve been using Samsung Health on my phone.

    3. Walking, yardwork, household chores, and a “senior exercise class” 2 x week.

    4. About two hours on average, including said walking, yardwork, etc.

    5. I stretch at exercise class, but otherwise it’s incidental to whatever I am doing.

    6. I am in fairly good condition for my age (66).

    by Ray — August 21, 2019

  5. I really don’t keep track but feel I easily get 10,000 steps a day, probably that many by noon as I live in a two-story house and when I go upstairs I say “what did I come up here to get?’ and then I go down again, and so on…

    by Drew — August 21, 2019

  6. 1. 6,000 to 8,000 steps daily.
    2. Pacer on my iPhone.
    3. Walking.
    4. 7 times a week.
    5. Some stretches.
    6. Great health. Age 71.

    by Everette Orr — August 21, 2019

  7. 1. I try for 5000 per day
    2.I bought a device called lenovo-$30, and works great for me.
    3. Walking daily at the present time. I do tai chi once a week.
    4. I walk daily, trying to get in 1 hour of movement daily.
    5. Yes, I do stretch, to loosen up my joints.
    6. Health – I describe as good (physically), mentally (fantastic – my life is so blessed. I don’t complain– it show off the negative vibes).

    by david clark — August 21, 2019

  8. 1) usually 5500 to 11k
    2) Fitbit
    3) elliptical and walking, and climbing five stories at work at least once every workday. I try to climb twice three days a week.
    4) I shoot for five but happy to hit four
    5) yes, yoga 3-4 x week. Stretching and balance are just as important as walking and the elliptical trainer
    6) Very good, age 62

    by Laurie — August 21, 2019

  9. Thanks to everyone who has responded so far – hope everyone will chime in. I am sure not everyone is a real exercise hound, so let us know what you do do, and any problems or issues that keep you from doing more. If we are lucky enough to be mobile, maybe some group encouragement will help us all do better. Lets hear from you!.

    by Admin — August 21, 2019

  10. I stopped wearing my fitbit. I go to silver sneakers class and/or curves 4 times per week. The fitbit didn’t register much when working out with weights! I found myself moving my arm in the grocery store etc. just to register steps. Really?? Decided I would just put myself out of misery so I quit wearing it. Much more enjoyable shopping trips now! 🙂 No difference in the scale either way.

    by Peg — August 21, 2019

  11. Traveling a lot. Trying to get 5000-10,000 a day

    by Imelda — August 22, 2019

  12. Had the 1st Fitbit but use the stats on my iPhone now
    5-7 x’s per week
    I have a 12 min stretch I do most days (push-ups, plank, yoga)
    Above average but not great, I’d say ‘good’.

    by Imelda — August 22, 2019

  13. I used a clip on Fitbit years ago. Today I use an Apple Watch to track my steps. I have a desk job so I walk to get in steps. Before my recent back injury I was walking 10,000 steps a day. Now I stretch daily and try to get in 5,000 steps a day.

    by Robin — August 22, 2019

  14. Not a clue how many steps I take per day but most days I take a lot. I follow the Blue Zones concept of “natural movement” (just being active in ways that require lots of movement) rather than tracking specific steps or going to a gym.. For example I golf 1 or 2 days a week and normally walk the course (around 5 miles of walking, (sometimes more if those balls dont go straight) and walk into town or in local state park at least one or two other days – those walks usually are 2 – 4 miles. I also vacuum, sweep, put stuff away on high shelves, garden / rake leaves / carry planters, etc) , “mall walk” in really bad weather, stretch and do light yoga postures, and have developed a habit of just fidgeting a lot when not being active. Making doing activities that include a lot of movement a habit gets the job done without having to think about it.

    by Jean — August 22, 2019

  15. Walk M-F in the morning before the heat hits. 3.25 miles a day…..which relates to between 6000 and 8000 steps depending on the device. We have some nice hills so get a cardio also.

    by Bruce — August 22, 2019

  16. I’m 71, retired 16 years, both knees are full replacements, have heart disease (triple bypass 6 years ago), arthritis (hence the knee replacements, and well-managed asthma as well as difficulties with achilles bursitis and plantar fasciitis. I’ve always been active, but have struggled to maintain a daily workout ethic since my youth as a medium distance runner. Mostly workout efforts have petered-out in 3-5 months with years before the next attempt. That’s why I happy to say that today I’m in my 8th month of daily exercise and hope I’ve now established that habit basically for life. In addition, I’ve always done my own home extensive maintenance, upkeep and improvements many of which are very physically taxing (such as lining my 500-foot driveway drainage with riprap).

    I don’t know how many steps a day, but would guess 5000 – 10,000 minimum. I don’t use an app — don’t think it useful so long as I do my workout. I try to workout 6 days a week and have maintained 5 or 6 days these 8 months. (The 7th day is my lawn mowing day which is about two miles on our steep, 30 degree slope behind a battery powered self-propelled mower.) My workout takes about 50 minutes with cardio — 20 minutes elliptical, 10 minutes treadmill and about 20 minutes free weights (dumbbells) plus some stretching. I’m continuing to slowly increase the dumbbell reps and weight. I think my physical condition is fair to good, though my joint issues limit my workouts to the above. Due to the concerns i mentioned above, I can only call my health “fair”.

    All in all however, I’m doing pretty well and staying a step ahead of my family history. I’m now the oldest living male in my line by almost 10 years. That would be part of my motivation.

    by RichPB — August 22, 2019

  17. It also depends on pace and medical condition. For a diabetic, for instance, ask your doctor. Same with a heart condition and other illnesses. Intensity can also play a role — many studies on that too. I find that 16,000 is optimal given my health status. Just ask your doctor and ignore the marketing by companies selling tracking devices!

    by Ed LaFreniere — August 22, 2019

  18. If those who haven’t been staying too active research shows it’s never too late!

    And for those who have difficulty walking and dont like gyms, get a CD with some great music like the William Tell Overture, a baton or even a piece if dowel and conduct the music 🙂 You could take a “conductorcise” class if there is one nearby but even without one blasting some music and moving your arms vigorously for 30 minutes or so will get your heart beating fast.

    by jean — September 2, 2019

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