Walk less, wander more? The science of 10,000 steps

By Philip Cowell

So the story goes, we have to get in 10,000 steps a day for health, well-being and a good long life.

It turns out, this might actually be more a marketing myth from the 1960s!

A New York Times article recently has revealed the latest science suggests we do not need to get 10,000 steps in every day for the sake of our health or longevity.

The article examines how, for example, one peer-reviewed study has shown that walking 8000 steps a day reduced the chance of middle-aged men and women dying prematurely from heart disease, and that adding further steps did not have any more positive effect.

As the article suggests, it might be better to think of exercise in the round – getting in 150 minutes of exercise per week, for example. And that would therefore translate – in addition to the normal, daily movement we’re already doing – into 2,000-3,000 more steps per day. Dr Lee suggests this might therefore be the daily step count sweet spot:

“If, like many people, we currently take about 5,000 steps a day during the course of everyday activities like shopping and housework, [then] adding the extra 2,000 to 3,000 steps would take us to a total of between 7,000 and 8,000 steps most days”

So if it’s true we can walk less, can we wander more? Add a Street Wisdom Tune Up to your walk this week and find out what happens when you add this everyday creative practice to your step count.



Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups.