You don’t need 10,000 steps a day. But 7,000 steps a day cuts your risk of dying prematurely in half. A big meta-study published in The Lancet gathers data from 15 large studies. They conclude that mortality – your risk of dying in any given month – at 7,000 steps is only half that at 3,000 steps. Just getting to 5,000 steps still gives you a 30% improvement.
If you believe you are already taking 5,000 or 7,000 steps per day, I have bad news for you: You don’t. Most people significantly overestimate their activity level, and I did as well. There is only one way to know and increase your number of steps: Count them. Get an app for your phone, or use a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Some people find that the carefully designed “nudging” in an Apple Watch makes them much more likely to reach their goals. But you can get a good-enough fitness tracker for less than $50.
Set a goal of 7,000 steps and find a way to track your progress. You will find that it also improves your mood and your energy.