Walking is good for you. It helps you stay fit, lose weight, and improve endurance—I can go on and on.
However, increasing your daily step count is easier said than done. Maybe you spend most of your day behind a work desk, live in a not-so-walk-friendly city, or don’t feel like doing it after a long day.
Whatever your reasons (and excuses), don’t give up before you read the rest of this article.
Though a 20-minute walk daily is better than sitting at home the whole day, more is usually better. Many health organizations and fitness experts recommend that people should take around 10,000 steps a day.
At a glance, 10,000 steps may sound like a lot to process, but if you build the right habits, aiming for 10,000 steps per day can be a realistic goal.
In today’s article, I’ll delve into the following:
- How many miles is 10,000 steps
- How Many Steps Should You Take A Day?
- How many calories do you burn walking 10,000 steps per day
- How Long Does it Take To Walk 10,000 Steps?
- Benefits of walking 10000 steps a day
- How to walk 10k steps a day,
- Proper walking form
- And so much more
Let’s lace up and dig in
10,000 Steps Per Day Explained
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past few decades, the 10K step daily target is a practice you must be familiar with.
But did you know that the 10,000 steps principle didn’t come from science but from a marketing campaign?
Yes. And here’s the whole story.
The 10,000 steps per day came from pedometers sold in Japan in the 60s. Shortly after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, a Japanese company started selling a pedometer called the Manpo-key. In Japanese, Manpo-key translates to 10,000 (Man), steps (P.O.), and meter (Kei).
The fitness device became an overnight success, and the number seems to have stuck.
How Many Steps Should You Take A Day?
This is where things can get a little bit murky.
But science may have the answer. Research has reported that healthy adults typically log roughly 4,000 and 18,000 steps daily. Even if you’re bad at math, this makes the 10,0000 steps per day a realistic goal for most people.
Research from the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity recommends that we should be taking between 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day.
However, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense exercise a week instead of aiming for a daily step count.
That said, please remember there’s no specific magic number of steps for an age group. What’s right for one person might not be the same for another since everyone is different.
For instance, if you have a chronic condition that impacts your ability to walk, I’d urge you to consult your doctor to know your options and determine your best action plan. Otherwise, aiming to reach the higher end of the daily step count is a good idea if you’re healthy.
Recommend Daily Step By Age
Age is an importance variable when it comes to daily step count.
Overall, daily activities reduce as we get older. This also impacts how many steps we should take per day.
According to the center for disease control and prevention (CDC), the younger you’re, the more likely you’re meeting their guidelines for aerobic activity.
A review has reported that people over 18 take around 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day. However, a study examining how many steps children and adolescents take revealed a daily account of anywhere from 10,000 to 16,000 steps per day.
The researchers also reported that the daily step count drops drastically as teenagers approach age 18.
Daily step count will likely decrease as we age as we either become university students and/or enter the workforce.
The younger we are, the more steps we need to take. This is primarily due to walking around during the school day, joining physical education classes, or simply having fun with friends outdoors.
As a general rule, research suggests that kids aim for a minimum of 6,000 to 15,000 steps a day once they learn how to walk properly and their bones have completely developed. Kids that are overall more active, whether they regularly play sports or run often around the playground, should be on the higher end of the range.
How Far are 10000 Steps?
Ten thousand steps equal roughly five miles, or eight kilometers—about two hours of physical movement.
Unless you have an active job, such as a teacher or waiter, taking 10,000 steps a day with everyday activity is tricky. For example, surveys show that less-than-active individuals log around 3,000 steps or fewer per day of running everyday errands.
Most adults have a stride length of roughly 2.1 to 2.5 feet, so it would take more than 2,000 steps to cover a mile. Of course, the taller the person, the longer their stride is likely to be
How Long Does it Take To Walk 10,000 Steps?
Overall, most adults can comfortably log in 1,000 steps in ten minutes. This is likely slower than if you deliberately walked fast because you’re late but testily faster than you would walk during an easy stroll.
At around 3 miles per hour, it’ll take 100 minutes to cover 10,000 steps.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not recommending that you should walk the entire 10,000 steps in one go. In general, you’ll build up to it through your day-to-day activities. Remember that you might need to do a 30 to 45-minute walk to reach the 10,000-step goal.
Every step counts. And the more you walk, the more steps you accumulate. For example, you could walk during lunch break, walk to work, or have a walk-and-talk work meeting—the options are virtually endless (more on this later).
Fortunately: Getting there is a real challenge regardless of your fitness level. Whether you walk, jog, or run, as long as you’re motivated, you’ll succeed.
Additional resource – How to Do a Run Streak
Where you Stack Up
Are you taking enough steps every day? Check out the following:
- Inactive – Fewer than 5,000 steps per day
- Average – Between 5,000 to 7,500 steps per day
- Active – Ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day
- Very active – More than 10,000 steps per day.
Note – Don’t feel frustrated if your daily step is low. By applying some of the strategies shared below, you’ll be on your way to taking more steps every day than before.
Can Walking 10,000 Steps Help You Lose Weight?
Of course, walking can help you reach your goal weight as long as you burn more calories than you take in through your diet.
Not losing weight while walking 10,000 steps every day? Then take a look at your diet and/or exercise more.
Weight loss is a numbers game. You simply need to burn more calories than you eat to lose pounds. Calories in Vs. Calories out. Most experts recommend a calorie deficit of roughly 500 calories daily to lose one pound a week.
Therefore, walking 10,000 steps a day can help you achieve your goals to lose or keep a healthy weight.
Overall, expect to burn around 30-40 calories per 1,000 steps of walking. This can add up to 300 to 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps. But keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate. Although every step burns calories, the exact amount.
The calorie burn rate varies widely among people. Factors impacting calorie burn include weight, speed, stride length, walking surface, and fitness level. But overall, the more steps, the better.
Why 10,000 Steps Per Day Is Good For you
The long list of fitness and health benefits of spending more time on your feet is inspiring.
Walking regularly improves cardiovascular fitness, helps you lose weight, strengthens bones, boosts endurance, and reduces your risk of developing certain chronic diseases such as heart problems, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and some cancers.
Let me explain more.
Research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that walking daily can help overall health and reduce certain health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and blood pressure.
By definition, walking is a weight-bearing exercise. This, in turn, helps improve strength in your main walking muscles.
Walking also puts pressure on your bones, which helps boost bone strength.
I hate to state the obvious, but walking builds endurance. The more you walk, the more endurance you build.
So gradually increasing your daily steps, even by little, can help you slowly improve your overall endurance and conditioning. Once you can comfortably walk for more than 90 minutes per day, you can up the challenge by doing more intense exercise, such as running.
Achieve Healthy Weight
Walking can also help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Of course, don’t take my word for it.
Research from the University of Texas revealed that taking fewer than 5,000 steps daily may limit your body’s ability to metabolize fat the next day.
This fat build-up can boost your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Just remember to back up your walking routine with a healthy diet—otherwise, all the steps will be in vain when losing weight.
Establish a Routine
Even if you don’t like to plan, having a daily routine helps keep you on track.
As a rule, choose a time of the day that works best for logging your daily recommend steps, then try to stick to it every day so that it becomes a habit.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong time of day to walk, but if you keep it up for long enough, it’s usually easier to form the habit. The rest is just details.
Your 10,000 steps plan might look something like this:
- By 10:00 am, I’ll have 2,000 steps done
- By noon, ill have covered 3500 steps
- By 03:00 pm, I’ll have reached 5000 steps
- By 06:30 pm, I’ll have finished 7500 steps.
- By 09:00 pm, I’ll have completed 10,000 steps.
Choosing a template like this provides a schedule and accountability—both work better for achieving any goal.
Determine your Current Average
The best first step you can take (no pun intended) to take more daily steps is to start by determining your current baseline. Monitor your step count for a few days using a step counter or a smartphone app. Remember that you shouldn’t try to jump from 2,000 steps a day to 10,000 overnight. It doesn’t work that way.
Once you determine your average baseline, aim to add 1,500 to 2,000 steps a day. That’s around walking one mile extra per day. As your body gets used to the extra movement, take more steps by lengthening your walks or walking more often so you can get closer to logging 10,000 steps per day (more on this later).
Get A Fitness Tracker
You cannot improve on what you cannot measure. You need a reliable fitness tracker to monitor your daily step count.
Many useful fitness trackers are on the market, so find one that suits your budget and goals. But please use it often and right. Don’t just buy it for the sake of having one. It’s not worth it.
The one I’d recommend is Fitbit. It keeps track of your daily step count, heart rate, elevation gain, sleep cycles, and other vital stats.
Lunch Hour Walk
If possible, walk around the block for 20 to 30 minutes from your allowed lunchtime break. Too lazy to walk around outside? Try to walk indoors.
In 30 minutes, you can log in to 3400-3700 steps—more than a third of the goal.
What’s more? Depending on weight, walking pace, and terrain, you might burn as many as 200 calories.
You’ll also feel more focused at work. Your boss will approve.
Another tactic to help you fit in a few more steps is to take your work calls on the go (or simply avoid the conference room and have walking meetings).
Regardless of the reason behind the call, the minutes spent strolling while on the phone add up.
Walking while on a 20-minute phone call is worth roughly 1700-1900 steps—or about 20 percent of the daily goal. Bonus, you won’t feel lonely on the track.
Some weekends you want to do nothing but lounge on the couch, but you’re better off being more active. Staycation is fun, but you don’t want the weekend laziness to get carried to your until Monday, right?
There are many options. Here are a few:
- Explore a nearby town on foot
- Take a hike at a local mountain
- Sign up for a charity walk
- Visit a local park and immerse yourself in local trails
In short, anything that gets out of the house and moving is a good plan for the weekend.
Park Farther Away
Whether it’s your workplace, the mall, or the grocery store, make it a habit to park as far as possible from your destination.
Even a couple hundred steps walking to or from parking adds up fast.
Sticking to the back of the parking lot will protect your car from many a dent and ding.
Get Off Earlier
If you commute to work using public transport, hop off your train or bus one stop—or more—early.
Picking up the pace to catch your work meeting could win you over 1700 precious steps in 20 minutes—or 18 percent of your daily goal.
Bring along your family and friends. Walking together is a fantastic opportunity to connect with others and be more social, which can drastically impact your health and well-being.
Time also passes quickly when you’re walking with someone else.
Play With your Kids
Schedule aside a family walking time for 30 to 45 minutes, if possible, three or more days per week.
This will help you get one step (no pun intended) closer to achieving your target of daily physical activity and your kids’ too.
In addition, introducing an active lifestyle in the early years will improve your kids’ performance.
There are many games you can play. You can hit the park to play soccer or Frisbee. Hide and seek is another wonderful game. Or simply take the kids for a walk around the block.
Walk To The Store
Live within 15 to 20 minutes of walking distance of the grocery store, pharmacy, or post office?
Then consider getting there on two feet instead of four wheels.
Even if the post office is too far, it is still not an excuse as you can simply park your car a little farther then walk the whole way.
Take The Stairs
Taking the stairs helps a lot. This is because each flight of stairs you walk up is roughly the equivalent of taking 40 steps on flat ground.
For example, if you work on the fourth floor, you can squeeze in over 200 steps by avoiding the elevator when you get in and leave home for the day.
Climbing stairs burn about 70 to 100 calories in 20 minutes, depending on your size, fitness level, etc. The faster pace and/or the more weight you carry, the more calories you’ll burn.
Walk The Dog
Calling all dog owners. Walking your dog is a fun way to spend quality time with your dog while logging in your steps.
It’s also something you have to do every day. So even if you’re not in the mood for walking, your dog might be. Remember that your dog is not a doll. It requires physical activity the same as you.
Remember to WALK the dog instead of letting him out of the leash to roam around.
I’d recommend that you follow his lead, and before you know it, you’ll have taken more than 3000 steps in 30 minutes.
To add some fun while chasing after those 10,000 steps, put on your favorite song and dance around your living room like you don’t care—there’s no one watching, after all.
Hopefully, no one is. So you can count it as a fun cardio workout.
Get A Standing Desk
Standing desks follow the same logic – they allow you to work while you stand. These have a lot to offer, from protecting against back pain and heart disease to lowering your risks of weight gain.
Can’t afford a standing desk?
Look for tasks where you can stand, such as reading hard-copy reports or taking conference calls on the go.
Use A Pedometer
You cannot improve on what you cannot measure. And to measure something, you need to know how to track it.
That’s where using a pedometer can come in handy.
This device helps you monitor your daily step count. This can motivate and help keep you accountable for your 10,000 steps goal.
Some of these devices are programmed with a goal of 10,000 steps per day.
For example, realizing that you have only logged in 3000 steps and it’s already 4 pm should incentivize you to spend more time on your feet before you call it a day.
Your Walking Technique
Lastly, to get the most out of your walks, do it right—practice good form the entire time.
Good technique helps you walk longer while avoiding pain. What’s not to like?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep a straight posture. Do not lean back or forward.
- Stand up straight with shoulder back but relaxed.
- Avoid sitting back on your hips
- Keep your chin parallel to the ground while gazing ahead.
- Keep moving your hips from side to side in a continuous manner.
- Keep your core muscles engaged and firm
- Point your feet forward. Pointing your feet too much outward or inward may cause injury.
- Keep your body tall. Avoid arching your back but allow the natural curves in your spine
Getting Started With 10000 Steps A Day
You don’t need to shoot for 10,000 steps from the get-go. Start small; go slow.
This is especially true if you haven’t walked for more than 20 minutes a day in a long while.
Generally, start with 20 to 30 minutes of consecutive walking. If that’s too much, shoot for three 5-minute walking at a time. The more active you’re, the more you can do. You’re doing your health and well-being a great service by going the extra step instead of sitting on your watching TV.
10K steps per day – The Conclusion
There you have it! If you’re looking to increase your daily step count—and why not reach 10,000 steps or more—then today’s post will get you heading in the right direction—no pun intended. The rest is really up to you.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Keep training strong.