Question: Should You Walk 10000 Steps per Day for Weight Loss?
I've heard that we should walk 10,000 steps per day for fitness and weight loss. How did they come up with this 10,000 steps per day number? Is this a fitness myth, or is there any research that shows that it works?
Answer: Walking 10,000 steps per day for health and weight loss was popularized originally in Japan. Pedometer researcher Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke says the original figure was not based on medical research. Several researchers have been playing catch-up on this, including Tudor-Locke. Research studies show it isn't a magic number, but it is a good indicator of how much activity a person is achieving in a day.
10,000 Steps Per Day Matches Exercise RecommendationsAn inactive person takes 3,000 steps or less just in daily activity of moving around the house. Ten thousand steps is approximately five miles of walking during the day. Unless you have an active job such as a waitress or nurse, it would be difficult to log 10,000 steps just with daily activity. Most people achieve it by one or more sustained walks or runs, the equivalent of 30-60 minutes or more of walking per day. That equals the minimum daily exercise recommendation by most health authorities to reduce health risks.
Do You Burn Enough Calories With 10,000 Steps Per Day?
The number of calories you burn by walking depends primarily on how much you weigh, and secondarily on your speed of motion. We all burn calories just sitting and breathing, which you can estimate with our calories per day calculator.
Many pedometers estimate your walking step calories burned for you. You can use our pedometer steps calorie calculator to estimate this for yourself. You will need to know your approximate steps per mile.
Each 2,000-2,500 steps is about a mile. Walking a mile burns about 80 calories for a 150-pound person.
Bottom Line: Depending on your weight, walking 10,000 steps burns between 250 and 600 calories. Most weight loss programs recommend burning 200-300 calories per day in moderate to vigorous exercise. If you walk 10,000 steps per day with 3000 of those steps at a brisk walking to jogging pace, you should be burning enough calories.
If You Continue to Gain Weight, Add More StepsIf you are already logging 10,000 steps a day and not losing or maintaining your weight, then the key is to add another 2,000 steps per day (and/or eat fewer calories).
If that still doesn't work after a couple of weeks, add more steps or eat less. Logging even more steps becomes time-intensive at that level. Increasing your exercise intensity so more of your steps are brisk walking or jogging, or eating fewer calories can be effective tactics to losing weight if you are already active. A food and exercise diary can help you spot where to make improvements.
Start Counting Your Steps
- Step Counters: 28 Day Pedometer Walking Program: Our free program sends you a daily email tip to get into the pedometer habit and increase your steps per day.
- Walking Journals and Logs: Track your walking steps, exercise and diet.
- Top Picks for Pedometers: Good choices for pedometers to count your steps per day.
Pedometer Steps Research
- How Many Steps Per Day Are Enough?: Report on study published January, 2004 "Sports Medicine."
- How Many Steps Per Day are Enough for Children?: June, 2004 "Preventative Medicine" by Catrine Tudor-Locke Ph.D. and associates.
- Add 2000 More Steps Per Day to Stop Weight Gain: Press release by Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
- Walk Like the Amish: January, 2004 "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise," and conducted by David R. Bassett, Jr. and associates of the University of Tennessee.
- Study Shows Pedometers Motivate to Increase Exercise: April, 2005 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
- Tudor-Locke, Catrine. "Steps to Better Cardiovascular Health: How Many Steps Does It Take to Achieve Good Health and How Confident Are We in This Number? " Curr Cardio Risk Rep (2010) 4:271–276 DOI 10.1007/s12170-010-0109-