It was my understanding that the figure of 10,000 steps, so familiar to all us Fitbit fans, was chosen arbitrarily for a pedometer brand in Japan, where the movement began. But I’m reading This Is Your Do-over by Michael Roizen, and he claims that there’s some reality to the number.

He started holding his patients to that 10,000 a day number, and was amazed at the health benefits. He dove into the research and discovered that 10,000 steps a day does a lot more than 8,000 steps, but not much less than 12,000 steps.  His #2 rule out of the seven in this book is, “10,000 steps, no excuses.”

Of course, the “no excuses” part has worked well for me so far, so I was drawn to this one. The #1 rule was “Find a buddy.” I took no action on that.

I don’t currently get anywhere near 10,000 steps a day. In fact, my Fitbit changed my goal to 8,000 because I never reached that 10k goal. Now I rarely reach the 8k goal.  I write for a living, so I sit in a chair most of the time.

My best day ever was 15,000 steps. I did a lot of 10,000+ days in Paris, and in fact I typically walk a lot more when I’m traveling. But I could get more steps in. I could take a lunchtime walk or put dinner in the oven and get some time on the treadmill.

Moving up to 10,000 steps a day would be a big enough goal to feel like I’m accomplishing something if I get there, but not so difficult that I’d get discouraged.