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Counting Your Steps - Pedometers Motivate Walkers

How Many Steps per Day?


Updated January 30, 2013

NL-2000i Pedometer with 12,000 Steps Recorded

NL-2000i Pedometer with 12,000 Steps Recorded

Wendy Bumgardner © 2012
How many steps do you take per day? How many should you take?

6000 Pedometer Steps for Health

Rob Sweetgall of Creative Walking, Inc. points to the Harvard Alumni Study that showed walking even 1 mile a day reduced death rates. The most benefit came at approximately 6000 steps per day. For most people, that is the equivalent of walking for an hour a day. These can be accumulated steps throughout the day rather than one long walk.

10,000 Steps for Weight Management

It is typical to log 3000 or more steps just with daily activity and not extra exercise or dedicated walks. To burn off extra calories for weight loss, walk 10,000 steps per day most days of the week. Add in walking sessions of at least 10 minutes at a brisk walking pace to achieve moderate intensity physical activity.
Why You Should Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day

Pedometers Help Motivation

Pedometers used to get a bad rap because they are not accurate for measuring distances for most people, due to uneven strides. Stop thinking about logging distance and start thinking about logging steps. Wearing a pedometer all day, you can see how many steps you are really getting in, and aim towards a goal of 6000 or 10,000 steps a day. A review of pedometer research studies in 2007 found that people who set a goal with a pedometer were more likely to increase their physical activity, lose weight and lower their blood pressure.

Suddenly you start finding ways to add in steps:

  • Parking further from your destination
  • Taking the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Adding a stroll to your breaks and lunches
  • Enjoying an evening walk with your loved ones

Today's Pedometers

Fueling the step counting movement are new pedometers that display steps and count them accurately. Models also have a distance calculation, and many also calculate calories burned and have a time/date or stopwatch feature. For distance and calorie models, users must enter their stride length and weight. Tiny and comfortable, they are meant to be worn all day, every day, as motivation to keep moving.

Next page > Before You Buy a Pedometer
Top Picks for Pedometers
How to Set Your Pedometer
Pedometer Walking Programs


Lee IM, Paffenbarger RS Jr. "Associations of light, moderate, and vigorous intensity physical activity with longevity. The Harvard Alumni Health Study." Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Feb 1;151(3):293-9.

Dena M. Bravata; Crystal Smith-Spangler; Vandana Sundaram; Allison L. Gienger; Nancy Lin; Robyn Lewis; Christopher D. Stave; Ingram Olkin; John R. Sirard. "Use of Pedometer Associated With Increased Physical Activity, Decreased Blood Pressure and Weight." JAMA. 2007;298(19):2296-2304.

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How to Use a Pedometer

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