Mercy’s Dr. Kathryn Boling Discusses How Many Steps You Really Need To Take Each Day For Good Health

September 8, 2015
Lutherville Personal Physicians

From Fitbits to pedometers, many people are now tracking how many steps they take each day. 

Often, your device will tell you that 10,000 steps is what you should strive for daily. But is that ideal for everyone?

Interior designer Judi Bradshaw wants to know. Bradshaw is on her feet a lot and her workday can cause her problems when she gets home.

"I just have no energy," Bradshaw said. "I just don't feel well. My back hurts. I just want to sit down because I am on my feet all day."

According to family medicine expert Dr. Katherine Boling of Mercy Medical Center, had a simple suggestion for her: Walk for 15 minutes straight after work.

"If I just go home and do that and not think about it, I think it's workable," Bradshaw said.

That may not seem like a lot, but Boling said new research shows that a short walk will get you moving in the right direction health-wise.

"If you do nothing and then you get up and start moving and you walk even a few thousand steps a day, you've decreased your risk of premature death and overall problems by 20 percent just by getting off the couch," Dr. Boling said.

If you're healthy and you exercise, the same research shows that you should be walking an hour a day, which is good for your heart and helps manage stress.

Dr. Boling noted that she does it herself using an Apple Watch and she believes it's a great way to keep track of your steps. She cautions not to get too wrapped up in the number of steps because there are other things that matter, too.

"It can be possible to become too focused on (thinking) 'I took 10,000 steps a day therefore I'm healthy,'" Boling said. "That's really not true. It's a broad range of things you have to do. You have to watch what you're eating. You have to watch your fatty food intake."

View Mercy family medicine expert Dr. Kathryn Boling’s interview.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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