Study Buddy (Explorer): Walking 7,000 steps a day is enough to help you live longer and be healthier

  • Each week, Study Buddy Explorer presents an interesting story that we have adjusted to be more accessible for all English learners
  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
YP |

Latest Articles

Top 10: What habits did you grow out of as you got older?

Play to Thrive project promotes youth mental health through football

Covid XBB variant vaccine’s first batch arrives in Hong Kong

Hong Kong gets first full-time college for adult prisoners

It turns out that you just need to take about 7,000 steps every day

Content provided by the British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] How many steps should you take every day? A new study published in JAMA Network Open suggests 7,000 steps a day could be a solid aim for middle-aged adults.

[2] The study began tracking participants in 2005. It revealed a 50 per cent to 70 per cent lower risk of early death for those who took at least 7,000 steps a day, compared with those who logged fewer than 7,000. The study tracked 2,110 people aged 38 to 50 and followed them for an average of nearly 11 years.

[3] While the 7,000-step milestone stood out in the study, experts say that simply improving your current step count can make a difference. People have been tracking their steps for years, but there has not always been a clear daily goal.

[4] The commonly accepted goal of 10,000 steps was more of a “marketing tool” than anything else, said Dr I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a researcher on physical activity. A Japanese company released a step-tracking device in the 1960s called the “10,000 steps meter”. It encouraged users to reach the milestone, and the number caught on.

[5] In a 2019 study, Lee found that a higher number of steps was linked to lower mortality rates up until about 7,500 a day. The latest step-count study, published in September, found that crossing the 10,000-step mark threshold did not further reduce the risk of premature mortality. The study provides more insight into what middle-aged adults should be shooting for on a daily basis. But there isn’t a singular number recommended by US federal health officials just yet.

[6] In fact, people need clear guidance on daily step counts, said Dr Nicole Spartano, a research assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. There is a common misconception that exercise is only about moderate-to-intense workout activities like running or biking. Having a national guideline of daily steps might help reshape how people view activity. It might also make exercise more accessible to those who cannot take part in moderate or intense workouts.

[7] After all, doing something as simple as an evening walk is more activity than doing nothing at all. “It’s important that we can provide achievable goals for people who are doing very little activity,” Spartano said. An effective way to establish this, she argued, was for the messaging to come from the top – namely the US Department of Health and Human Services. The health department has released a set of health practices telling adults to move more and sit less. But they fall short of establishing a step count goal.

[8] Forming a daily step-count milestone for all is the “ultimate goal”, especially as more people track health progress using fitness trackers, according to Amanda Paluch, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She led the study published in JAMA Network Open. Paluch and Spartano said future research on step counts would be necessary to discover whether or how higher step counts are associated with other health outcomes, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and mental health. Meanwhile, it can’t hurt to get more steps in. “If you’re at 4,000, try to get to 5,000 ... find little ways to fit more steps into your life,” Paluch said.
Source: Tribune News Service; September 17


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:

1. Which word has a similar meaning to “steps” in paragraph 1?
A. achievement
B. walking
C. stairs
D. distance

2. According to paragraph 2, what is the benefit for those who take at least 7,000 steps a day as compared to those who do not?

3. According to paragraph 2, what was the duration of the study published in JAMA Network Open?
A. 11 years
B. since 2005
C. 2,110 people
D. 50 to 70 per cent

4. Read paragraphs 3 and 4 to decide whether the following statements are True, False or Not Given. (4 marks)
(i) A company used the “10,000 daily steps” to help sell step trackers to more people.
(ii) Younger people should walk more than 7,000 steps a day.
(iii) Dr Lee recommends walking more than 10,000 steps every day.
(iv) Many Japanese people reached the 10,000 steps goal after buying the step tracker.

5. Find a word or phrase in paragraph 5 that means “trying to achieve a particular goal”.

6. List two examples of moderate-to-intense activities mentioned in paragraph 6. (2 marks)

7. According to paragraph 7, what needs to be added to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ guidelines?

8. According to paragraph 8, what other health conditions might be affected by step counts and would be helpful to study? (3 marks)

9. Which of the following sentences best summarises this article?
A. “The more moderate-to-intense workouts you do, the better your health will be.”
B. “10,000 steps a day is actually too little, and it will benefit your health if you do more.”
C. “While any sort of exercise is good, walking is better than most.”
D. “7,000 steps a day gives you about the same benefits as 10,000.”

How many steps did you take today?


1. B
2. They have a lower risk of early death.
3. A
4. (i) T; (ii) NG; (iii) F; (iv) NG
5. shooting for
6. running; biking
7. the number of steps to take every day
8. diabetes, Alzheimer’s and mental health
9. D

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy