What Exactly Is the Ideal Number of Steps to Walk in a Day?

A new study makes the case for a number lower than you might expect

Man walking
Walking is good for your health — but how much actually makes a difference?
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I’ve gotta get my steps in. Since step trackers became increasingly ubiquitous — whether as a standalone device like a Fitbit or via an app on phones and smartwatches — it’s not uncommon to hear someone say this as a given day winds down. The speaker’s goal? To reach a certain number of steps in a given day. But just how many steps is enough? At one point, the default answer was 10,000 — though that’s since been debunked.

Now, a new study has arisen to argue that significantly fewer steps can make a big difference in your overall health. That comes via The Guardian‘s Robyn Vinter, who shared her own dedication to walking exactly 3,967 steps every day. And if you think that seems a little too precise, don’t worry…Vinter has considered that.

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At the heart of Vinter’s routine is a study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. The study, titled “The association between daily step count and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: a meta-analysis,” took an overarching approach to different step counts and health results. The Guardian‘s Linda Geddes summarized the study’s findings: “walking at least 3,967 steps a day started to reduce the risk of dying from any cause, while 2,337 steps a day reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.”

Vinter’s own quest to walk 3,967 steps daily — or, for her, 1.7 miles — was accomplished through a series of small steps. This included everything from drinking from a smaller coffee cup — which required more trips to refill it — to taking care of longer errands by walking rather than driving. it may seem daunting at first, but hey — just under 4,000 steps feels a lot more attainable than 10,000 steps.

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