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Ask the doctor: Is 10,000 steps a day a good target for an older person?

January 01, 2011

Q. My daughter gave me a pedometer and told me to walk 10,000 steps a day. When I wore it for a while, I realized I was taking only about 3,000 steps a day. Is 10,000 a realistic number for someone my age (70 years)?

A. If you are reasonably healthy, 10,000 steps a day is a good goal for you. It is the equivalent of walking two to three miles per day. You can cover this distance with a walk of 45 minutes or so, and get in your 10,000 steps even if you do nothing else for the rest of the day. Ten thousand steps a day may not be feasible if you have arthritis, heart failure, or other health issues.

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