Row 5000 m

You May Not Need the 10,000 Steps a Day Your Fitness Tracker is Telling You to Take

Walking 10,000 steps a day has become a ubiquitous benchmark for adequate physical activity, thanks largely to wearable fitness trackers that push users to hit that target. But according to one new study, it may be a more ambitious goal than necessary, at least for some people.

A paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine says getting only about half that many steps per day is linked to a decreased risk of early death for older women, and that benefits peter out for this group around 7,500 steps per day. It joins a growing body of research that says even small chunks of physical activity can come with sizable benefits.

“Just do a little bit. If you just do a little bit, you’re better off,” says study co-author I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet 10,000 steps.”

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