Do Retirees Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day?

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In retirement, life can slow down a bit. And that may mean your day-to-day routine doesn't require as much physical activity as it did before. That's why it's important to find new ways to keep moving. Setting daily fitness goals — like reaching 10,000 steps each day — can help you stay motivated and healthy.

"Having that goal to get in a certain number of steps can be encouragement to get up and move, and that's one of the best things we can be doing as we age," says Liz Ackart, a health coach and dietitian at Aetna.


Take steps to improve your whole health

According to Ackart, reaching 10,000 steps a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, and depression. Want to boost your health even more? "Use walking time as social time," says Ackart. "Instead of meeting a friend for lunch, meet a friend for a walk or get involved in a local walking club."

Staying social as you age is important to your overall health, so try to involve your family or friends as much as possible as you strive to reach your step goal. You can even start a competition with them to see who gets the most steps each day.

If walking isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways you can reach your step goal. You can try a new sport like racquetball or tennis, or head to a fitness class. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer fitness programs that give you access to gyms and exercise classes. Check your plan for specific details and to see if these benefits are offered.

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Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm CT

Track your steps your way

To accurately track your steps each day, you may want to invest in a wearable fitness tracker or pedometer. Some wearable fitness trackers not only track your steps, but also provide you with important health information like your heart rate and how many calories you've burned. You can also download a fitness tracking app on your smartphone if you'd prefer. "What's most important is finding a technology you're most comfortable using," says Ackart.

Tracking your steps and setting other fitness goals are a fun way to keep active in retirement. Just remember, everyone's fitness capabilities are different. "For some, 10,000 steps a day may not be a realistic or safe goal," says Ackart. So it's important to check with your doctor before trying any new exercises or setting any new goals. They can help you set goals that make sense for you.

Speak to a licensed Aetna representative about Medicare
Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm CT
1-833-942-1968 (TTY: 711)

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