How many steps should you be taking a day? ‘There’s certainly nothing special about 10,000,’ a longevity expert says

Feel that buzz? It’s your fitness tracker reminding you to move so you can hit your goal of 10,000 steps a day.

But many users of these devices are already aware of the reality that this is an arbitrary benchmark that, according to Ram Hariharan, an associate teaching professor at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering.

“There’s certainly nothing special about 10,000,” says Hariharan, who focuses on human longevity and machine learning. “Is there anything special about any of the values we look at in (health)? (Baseline numbers) are based on statistical averages rounded up or rounded down. This one is not based on statistical averages.”

So, how many steps should you be taking a day?

Set health and fitness goals

Finding ways to fit exercise into your schedule, even if you have little time, is also more important than trying to work out longer and hitting an arbitrary number of steps, says Charles Hillman, a psychology and physical therapy professor at Northeastern University.

“The number one reason people cite for why they don’t exercise is lack of time,” says Hillman. “There are lots of ways to be physically active that fit into most people’s schedules. If you only have a little bit of time, maybe go for a high-intensity, shorter workout.”

Read more from Northeastern Global News.

Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University


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