It might not take as many steps as you think to improve your health

No doubt you’ve heard you need to take 10,000 steps a day.

That’s great. But it’s not realistic for everyone to take that many every single day (in this heat!) If you’re someone who can’t do it or feels overwhelmed by that goal, I have good news!

Four thousand steps are all it takes to significantly reduce the risk of early death, according to the latest study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The study analyzed hundreds of thousands of people from Australia, Japan, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It’s considered the largest study ever on the benefits of walking.

While approximately 4,000 steps a day can prolong your life, the biggest impact occurred when people walked more than 7,000 steps a day.

The study shows the most benefit occurs at about 20,000 steps but Dr. Dr. Wahaj Aman from UT Health Houston and Memorial Hermann Katy said the most important thing is to move as much as you can even if you can’t get outside.

“In fact, for people younger than 60 you see an even bigger benefit, but it doesn’t matter; all ages, all backgrounds, as long as you’re walking you are going to see the benefits,” Dr. Aman said. “And incrementally, increase your steps by a thousand you reduce the risk of dying from all causes by 15%.”

Dr. Aman said he bought a portable treadmill to use while watching TV.

“I go for 20-30 mins. You’re not going super-fast so you’re not super stressed. Before you know it you’ve got your steps in and you’re feeling good about yourself,” he said.

Professional treadmills can cost over $2,000.

Smaller, portable options can be found from online retailers like Amazon and cost less than $200.