Step-Count Obsession: How Many Steps Per Day Do You Really Need to Take?


By: Krystle Crossman

You would be hard-pressed these days to walk down the street and not see someone wearing a fitness tracker around their wrist or clipped to their clothing. Fitbits and the like are all the rage these days as people try to find easier ways to track their fitness and get into better shape. They work as pedometers, heart monitors, calorie counters, and sleep trackers all in one convenient little package. One of the biggest reasons that people get them is to count the number of steps that they take in a day to make sure that they are walking the recommended amount. But what is the right amount of steps that you should be doing in one day? Most people will tell you 10,000 as this is what the American Heart Association has stated is a healthy amount. There are other factors that may go into what your actual step count should be though.

A professor from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Center, Catrine Tudor-Locke, states that the 10,000 steps is not a one-fits-all number. Everyone varies in their lifestyle. For people who have been sedentary for a long time 10,000 steps may be too much. It equals roughly 5 miles of walking in one day. This may seem like a large number but think about all of the walking that you do around the office at work, or while you are shopping, or while you are out with friends. All of these steps count and you may not realize that you walk quite a bit during the day. However those who are mostly inactive for the day find that 10,000 steps is out of reach due to physical limitations. Tudor-Locke states that for someone trying to live a healthier lifestyle and going from being sedentary to active needs to be able to have a goal that they are able to reach. She states that going from 2,500 steps per day to 5,000 per day is a huge thing. People who live active lifestyles may not believe that someone can only take 5,000 steps in a day but for those who have never been active it is a vast improvement and a great start.

A study that was conducted in Europe showed that the mortality rate of people who were moderately active jumped 20-30% from those who were inactive. Just by getting up and walking a little more per day can add years onto your life. Increasing your step count little by little will help to make things easier and will have a very positive effect on how you feel. If you feel that 10,000 is too daunting for you and does not motivate you to bother trying at all, go for something lower. Everyone is different and just by getting up and moving around you are doing more for yourself than others are doing!


1 Comment

  1. I also find that 10,000 steps per day is close to 5 miles for me. I think the 10,000 step number is a great gauge to judge your physical activity for a day. If you are healthy and move around frequently during the day it’s a very attainable goal.

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