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    I walk 10,000 steps a day—a long life expert approves: It’s ‘essentially the most effective way’ to get exercise

    Somewhat over a 12 months ago, I discovered my that iPhone’s Health app tracked my steps and that I used to be averaging around 7,000 per day. Because I’m stubborn and competitive, the number 10,000 immediately popped into my head.

    Since I live in a walkable a part of a walkable city, the thought seemed reasonable. To date, I’m succeeding: In 2023, I averaged 10,632 steps a day, or simply over 5 miles.

    I didn’t select my goal variety of steps since it was some sort of gold standard for health — that exact myth has been debunked. But walking loads can still improve your well-being: Just 4,000 steps per day reduces your risk of “all-cause mortality,” based on a recent study.

    Certified nutritionist and longevity expert Michiko Tomioka, who herself goals for 10,000 steps a day, says that is “essentially the most effective way [to get exercise]: Just take a walk.”

    For me, though, the health advantages matter lower than showing the pedometer who’s boss.

    Here’s what I’ve learned since I began listening to my step count.

    Walking is nice on your body and your mind

    Dr. Una Naidoo, a dietary psychiatrist and college member at Harvard Medical School, also goals for 10,000 steps a day: It’s useful to get that much “movement in your body,” she says.

    Especially in nature. “You are outdoors getting sunlight. As much as 10 minutes gets you 80% of your Vitamin D for the day,” she says. That will help with mood, research indicates.

    A dose of Vitamin D within the morning can show you how to sleep higher at night, too. For me, this tracks. I’d say I sleep like a baby, but I’ve had babies — some nights, I sleep higher than a baby.

    Selfie of the creator on a 10-mile walk through the woods.
    Ester Bloom

    Walking consistently can improve your mental well-being, Naidoo says. Studies back her up: Aerobic exercise will help with anxiety, as can being within the woods for prolonged periods.

    That has been the case for me. I breathe higher amongst trees.

    But walking is not free

    Sure, there is not any charge to hoof it to the subway, or get up on a Sunday and wind my way south from my home within the Bronx to Manhattan.

    But to maintain my body from complaining, I’ve had to speculate in durable, supportive shoes, and quality doesn’t come low cost. I’ve cut corners by accepting hand-me-down mountaineering boots, or asking for waterproof sneakers as a birthday present.

    Still, even my on a regular basis shoes must be comfortable enough to walk miles in, meaning I’ve spent a whole bunch of dollars on footwear.

    Hitting 10,000 steps requires being intentional—and inventive

    On weekends, I could take my kids with me as I wander, or my husband, or my neighbors and proto-friends. In the course of the workweek, I coax coworkers into doing an Aaron-Sorkin-style walk-and-talk.

    When in Recent Orleans at a conference in 2023, I suggested meetings on the move, and other people were game. As one contact and I strolled through the French Quarter, he realized he’d never had a beignet, and we rectified that on the spot. One other contact and I ended up at an old-school, low-profile seafood spot we might never have found had we stayed on the hotel.

    That is partly why I like walking: It puts you where you would possibly not otherwise go, and helps you’re taking in what you would possibly not otherwise see.

    It helps to think about walking as a thing I get to do, not something I actually have to do

    Motivation will be hard to search out, especially in the course of the grim-gray death days of winter.

    On condition that I hate being told what to do, even by myself, neither chiding nor guilting gets me moving. As an alternative, I reframe walking so it’s more a likelihood than a chore.

    Once I’m on foot, I actually have the prospect to take heed to a podcast, or phone a friend, or stream certainly one of my shows if I’m on the gym. Those are all activities I enjoy which can be hard to prioritize otherwise, with a job, two children, a husband and a protracted to-do list vying for my attention.

    The rewards are clear enough to maintain me toddling along. I sleep higher, I’m calmer and the overtime to myself helps me be more patient with my family. Walking makes me glad, which makes it easy to maintain taking the subsequent step, and the subsequent.

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