Who Says You Must Walk 10,000 Steps a Day?

Here's a doctor's best recommendation for regular exercise — to keep us in tiptop shape for years to come

by Manny Alvarez, MD | Updated 11 Aug 2017 at 10:58 AM

It seems everyone has become obsessed with tracking health data. Between how much sleep to get, how many calories to burn, and even how many steps to walk, it can be overwhelming.

I get a lot of questions about the importance of working in those steps regularly. It’s true, you do need to get moving — but just how many steps do you need to take?

The number 10,000 is what most experts throw around. But what are the benefits of those steps?

Research shows a decrease in illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests people get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. That equals about 7,500 steps per day. But it turns out not all of us need to get 10,000 steps.

"Let's say you're someone who is super-sick in the hospital or your body is really deconditioned, then 10,000 steps may not be a realistic goal for your body to even handle," Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, an internist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said.

"If on the other hand, you're a high-intensity athlete, you may be aiming for more steps. Generally, if you are able to achieve 10,000 steps, that's usually enough to get you to a moderate level of physical activity, which is great."

The bottom line is to remain as active as possible and make each step count by walking at a fast pace with a high intensity to really get your heart pumping.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. This Fox News piece is used by permission; it also appeared at AskDrManny.com.

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