Count Your Steps (10,000 of Them) Every Day!

Medically reviewed in March 2021

Want to know the secret to protecting your heart? It’s the same thing that will nourish your pancreas, your brain and your waistline: Simply walk 10,000 steps a day.

Now, I’d expect you to be curious about what makes 10,000 the magic number. I wish science knew the exact answer, but what we do know is this: Walking 10,000 steps—about five miles—a day will get you maximum health benefits for minimal work. In fact, logging 10,000 steps a day breaks down insulin resistance much better than 8,000 steps, and walking 12,000 steps doesn’t help any more than 10K does. So, 10K a day is really the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of diabetes; and it may even reverse it.

One important thing to note: Exercise is not an excuse for eating more. Many people justify overeating with the fact that they sweated around in some activity for 20 minutes or so. It is very easy to out-eat your activity, because in the grand equation between how much you burn and how much you eat, the average person will never be able to out-burn a bad diet. (Even elite athletes have to deal with this reality). So do watch your diet—but more importantly, get walking!

Learn more get-healthy tips in Dr. Roizen’s new book, This is YOUR Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want.

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