Is 10,000 Steps a Magic Number?A goal of 10,000 steps per day has become common, based on promotion in Japan by pedometer companies and its adoption by walking clubs. But there was no body of research to back up that number. Numbers as low as 6000 steps a day were shown to be correlated with a lower death rate in men in the Harvard Study.
Many people view 10,000 steps a day as too few for children, yet not achievable by many who are aged, sedentary, or who have chronic diseases. Some suggest instead of using a blanket 10,000 steps per day that instead the goal be based on the individual's baseline plus an increment of steps. For example, a woman who wears a pedometer in her ordinary activities notes that she logs 4000 steps per day. Her goal should be to add the equivalent of a half hour of walking to her day, for example 2000-3000 more steps per day.
What Should Your Step Count Goal Be?Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke recommends the following based on research:
Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a "sedentary lifestyle index"
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered "low active."
3) 7,500-9,999 likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered "somewhat active."
4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as "active".
5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as "highly active".
Increasing Your Steps
- Step Counters: Daily Pedometer Walking Program: Our free daily email newsletter with pedometer walking and step counting tips.
- Ways to Add 2000 More Steps to Your Day: Adding just 2000 more steps to your day can prevent weight gain, according to Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
- How Many Steps Per Day Do Children Need?: Dr. Tudor-Locke's research on children's activity needs.
- "Manpo-Kei - the Art and Science of Step Counting": Dr. Tudor-Locke's book details how to track your activity level with a pedometer and use it to motivate you to add more steps to you day.
- Walk of Life 10-Week Program:Our free daily program to get you off the couch and moving more with a daily walking assignment, walking lesson, healthy recipe, and nutrition tip.
- How Many Steps Are In a Mile?: How to estimate your walking steps.
Tudor-Locke, Catrine, Bassett, David R Jr. "How Many Steps/Day Are Enough?: Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health" Sports Medicine. 34(1):1-8, 2004.