After age 60, 10,000 steps may not be a valid fitness goal

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Maybe you’ve heard that you have to take 10,000 steps every day For your health. But it’s not really a hard and fast rule. Research has found that you can take fewer steps as you age and reap serious benefits.

For example, if you’re over 60, you can halve your 10,000-step goal and stay healthy. “There’s no single magic number,” says Amanda Baluch, a physical activity researcher and assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

In A large analysis of research To answer this question, published in the Lancet Public Health journal in 2022, scientists found that increasing the number of your daily steps decreases the risk of premature death. For example, people who walked about 5,800 steps a day had a 40 percent lower risk of premature death compared to people who took the fewest steps—about 3,600 a day.

Your steps—even if they’re less than 10,000—can also reap other benefits. In Another 2022 study, taking fewer than 4,000 steps daily has been linked to a lower risk of dementia. And a step A study of 70-year-olds published in the journal PMC Public Health, people who took 4,500 daily steps or more had a 59 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who were less active. At risk that descent was leveled at 8,000 steps.

The risk of developing heart disease and cancer follows a similar pattern Uncertain benefits beyond 10,000 steps. Higher step counts may be associated with a lower risk for sleep apnea, reflux, depression, and obesity. 2022 course in naturopathy.

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“With each decade, fewer steps per day may be needed to produce a physiological response that leads to health benefits,” Baluch says.

Case: In Lancet study, younger adults did not gain significant mortality benefits beyond 8,000 to 10,000 steps. But for those over 60, the income dropped to 6,000 to 8,000 steps. A certain amount of exercise, such as walking a half-mile, may be more difficult for an average 70-year-old than for an average 40-year-old.

There are no minimum steps to take to improve your health. “It’s not an all-or-nothing situation,” Baluch says. “Every 1,000 to 2,000 step increase can lead to health benefits, especially for those starting out at lower activity levels.”

To find your step goal, start by counting how many steps you get in a typical week, says David R. Bassett says. (Use a simple pedometer or your phone.) Then increase your daily average by 500 to 1,000. If you consistently hit that new number for a week, add another 500 to 1,000 steps.

Increase your daily steps to 6,000 to 8,000 steps if you’re 60 or older, or 8,000 to 10,000 if you’re younger.

If you’re already at the top of your range, keep it up. If you think you can do more, go for it. But don’t worry if you can’t hit a particular target.

“Do what you think you can do,” says Bassett. As long as you’re moving, you’re reaping some benefits.

Copyright 2022, Consumer Reports Inc.

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