When it comes to living longer, reaching the oft-repeated goal of 10 000 steps per day may not be necessary. Older women who walked more than their peers had lower death rates in a recent observational study in JAMA Internal Medicine, and the mortality benefit was seen with as few as 4400 steps.
Most people, regardless of their age or fitness level, can walk at their own pace, making this form of physical activity widely accessible. And “steps per day” is easy to understand and measure with wearable technologies or smartphones. But for many older people, the idea of taking 10 000 steps every day can feel daunting, and this may discourage them from walking more.