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Is 10,000 steps really necessary?

Walking is great for both clearing your head and staying agile, but how much walking do you need to reap the benefits?

Where did that number come from, anyway, and is tracking even a good idea?

As I've mentioned many times in this newsletter... no singular approach is right for everyone.

👉 10,000 steps per day is not universally necessary. It’s not accessible for a lot of people either, and research shows you can get many of the same benefits at much lower step counts.

Significant reductions in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease occur around 2700-2900 steps per day, and health benefits max out around 7000-9000 steps per day.

There's nothing wrong with doing more, but it's not necessary for optimal health.

The quality and variety of exercise you do also matters, including strength training, flexibility and balance work, and, if you can pick up the speed, you'll go a long way toward staying healthy, even if your daily steps are well below that arbitrary (but understandably alluring) 10,000 steps per day.

Tracking does seem to motivate a lot of people, but for those who tend to rebel , it can sometimes be counterproductive. As I mention in the article, I had a client who had an unhealthy obsession with 10,000 steps but was ultimately able to find a range that worked better to maintain her physical and mental health.

👉 To learn about the strange origins of the 10,000 steps/day guideline and how to know how many steps are right for you, check out this week's Hey, Health Coach column at Forbes Health.

Spring is in full bloom here in Nashville, but I know some of you up north and in the midwest are still buried in snow, and California has been dealing with torrential rain.

When the weather allows, I hope you can find some opportunities to get out for a walk at whatever pace or distance works for you!



Images: Amnon Gutman for NPR, Fatma Fahmy for NPR, Rory Doyle for NPR

Snapshots of Joy from Around the World

In honor of the Dalai Lama's nonprofit Action for Happiness, NPR "asked the photojournalists of The Everyday Projects — a global community of photographers who use images to challenge harmful stereotypes — to look through their archives for scenes that capture a sense of happiness and well-being, from small uplifting moments to big bursts of joy."

They shared photos on the theme of togetherness. You can find them all (and the stories that go with them) at NPR.


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