You may have heard walking 10,000 steps per day is the holy grail. While it’s a great goal, especially if you’ve been sedentary, it’s actually an arbitrary number that isn’t right for everyone.

Research shows health benefits to increasing your step count, even if you’re walking fewer than 10,000 steps per day.

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SEDENTARY It can be easy for people who drive to work (or work from home) and sit at a desk most of the day to fall into sedentary habits, defined by less than 5,000 steps per day.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIGHER STEP COUNTS When you walk more than 5,000 steps per day, the health benefits increase. A review published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity analyzed 17 previously published studies about step counts, heart disease and causes of death.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed people who increased their step count from 4,000 to 8,000 steps per day had a 51% lower risk of death from all causes.

According to a recent study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The research showed people who took 5,000 or fewer steps per day experienced exercise resistance, whereas those who took 8,500 steps did not, suggesting walking 8,500 steps per day is health-protective.

Stepping at a higher intensity, or steps per minute, was not connected with significant mortality advantages, says Pedro Saint-Maurice, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the National Cancer Institute and study author.

Ticking things off your to-do list such as organizing your kitchen, grocery shopping, yard work and other chores also helps you accumulate more steps, says Saint-Maurice.