You should walk 7,000-10,000 steps per day. However, this number may be higher or lower for an individual depending on their age, level of physical activity, and specific health goals. For example, older adults may need fewer daily steps to maintain their health due to decreased muscle mass and lower metabolism. On the other hand, younger adults or those with a high level of physical activity may need more daily steps to maintain their health.
The recommendation is based on studies that cite the benefits of walking 10,000 steps/day on blood pressure and body composition (Source). The 10,000-steps-a-day advice can be traced back to Japanese walking clubs (Source). These clubs promoted the idea of taking 10,000 steps per day to improve health and well-being. The idea was later popularized in the United States in the 1990s when pedometers became more widely available.
It’s also important to note that the number of steps per day is just one aspect of physical activity, and it’s important also to consider the intensity and duration of physical activity when assessing your overall activity level. Aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week is generally recommended for adults.
How age affects walking steps
Age can affect the number of steps a person takes in a day. As people age, they may become less active due to various factors such as physical limitations, chronic health conditions, or a decrease in muscle mass. This can lead to a decrease in the number of steps a person takes daily.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that older adults (aged 60 years and above) tend to take fewer daily steps than younger adults. The study found that older adults took an average of 5,100 steps per day, while younger adults took an average of 8,000 steps per day.
However, it’s important to note that age is not the only factor affecting the number of steps a person takes. Other factors such as weight, height, and overall health can also impact a person’s activity level. It’s also important to note that it is never too late to start increasing physical activity; even small daily increases can have significant health benefits.
The following table shows the steps recommended based on your age (Source):
|Age||Recommended daily steps|
|Preschool children (4-6 years)||10,000-14,000|
|Boys (6-11 years)||13,000-15,000|
|Girls (6-11 years)||11,000-12,000|
|Adolescents (12-19 years)||10,000-12,000|
|Adults (20-65 years)||7,000-10,000|
|Healthy older adults (65+ years)||7,000-10,000|
|Individuals living with a disability or chronic illness||6,500-8,500|
You should walk at least 3,000-6,000 steps at a brisk pace for these recommended daily steps. For additional benefits, add vigorous-intensity activities.
Physical activity level
The number of steps you take can be a good indicator of your activity level. Generally, the more steps you take, the more active you are. It’s important to note that the number of steps you need to take per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle can vary depending on your age, gender, and weight.
The following table shows your activity level based on the number of steps you take (Source).
|Number of steps per day||Physical activity|
|Less than 5,000||Sedentary lifestyle|
|More than 12,500||Highly active|
It’s worth noting that these are just general guidelines and that the optimal number of steps per day for an individual may vary based on their specific health goals and needs. To get a more accurate picture of your activity level, it’s a good idea to track your steps over time and see how they compare to these general guidelines. Many smartphones and fitness trackers have built-in pedometers that automatically track your steps.
How goals affect the number of steps per day
Goals can significantly impact the number of steps a person takes per day. If a person’s goal is to be more physically active and improve their overall health, they may set a daily step goal for themselves and make an effort to reach that goal by taking more steps each day. On the other hand, if a person’s goal is to be less physically active and not try to reach a specific step goal, they may take fewer steps each day.
Several factors can influence the number of steps a person takes per day, including their level of physical activity, the environment in which they live and work, and their overall health and fitness level. For example, a person who works a sedentary job and does not engage in regular physical activity may take fewer steps per day than a person who has a more active job or regular exercise.
To increase the number of steps per day, people can try setting a specific step goal for themselves and tracking their progress using a pedometer or a fitness tracker. They can also incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or cycling to work or errands, and participating in structured exercise activities. By making these changes, a person can work towards achieving their goals and improving their overall health and well-being.
How far are 10,000 steps
The distance covered by walking 10,000 steps is 4.2-5.8 miles. This estimate is based on walking pace, height, and gender.
The distance covered by 10,000 steps can vary depending on a person’s stride length, which is covered with one step. Stride length can be affected by factors such as height, weight, and gait (how they walk). On average, a person’s stride length is about 2.2 to 2.5 feet (0.67-0.76 meters) for men and about 2 to 2.5 feet (0.61-0.76 meters) for women.
Using these average stride lengths as a reference, 10,000 steps would cover a distance of about 22,000 to 25,000 feet or about 4 to 4.6 miles (6.44-7.43 kilometers). However, it’s important to note that these estimates are based on average stride lengths and that the distance covered by 10,000 steps can vary from person to person.
The following equations were used to calculate the distance covered by walking 10,000 steps (Source). The first equation allows you to estimate the number of steps it takes to walk a mile. The second equation converts this number of steps into the distance covered by walking 10,000 steps.
|Steps per mile|
|Women||1,949 + [(63.4 × pace) – (14.1 × height)]*|
|Men||1,916 + [(63.4 × pace) – (14.1 × height)]*|
*The pace is in (minutes per mile), and the height is in (inches).
Distance (miles) = Number of steps / Steps per mile
Distance (miles) = 10,000 / Steps per mile
The tables below show the results of applying the above equations to different heights and paces.
|Height | Pace (min/mile)||20||18||16||14|
|5’0″ (152 cm)||4.22||4.46||4.72||5.02|
|5′ 2″ (157 cm)||4.27||4.51||4.79||5.10|
|5′ 4″ (163 cm)||4.32||4.57||4.85||5.17|
|5′ 6″ (168 cm)||4.37||4.63||4.92||5.25|
|5′ 8″ (173 cm)||4.43||4.69||4.99||5.33|
|5′ 10″ (178 cm)||4.48||4.75||5.06||5.41|
|6 ft. (183 cm)||4.54||4.82||5.13||5.49|
|Height | Pace (min/mile)||20||18||16||14|
|5′ 4″ (163 cm)||4.38||4.64||4.93||5.26|
|5′ 6″ (168 cm)||4.44||4.70||5.00||5.34|
|5′ 8″ (173 cm)||4.49||4.77||5.07||5.42|
|5′ 10″ (178 cm)||4.55||4.83||5.15||5.50|
|6 ft. (183 cm)||4.61||4.90||5.22||5.59|
|6′ 2″ (188 cm)||4.67||4.97||5.30||5.68|
|6′ 4″ (193 cm)||4.73||5.04||5.38||5.77|
Recommendations based on different studies
There are many health benefits to walking regularly. Some of the benefits of walking include:
- Improving cardiovascular health: Regular walking can help to improve heart health by lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Enhancing mental health: Walking has been shown to impact mental health positively and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Walking can help to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Strengthening bones and muscles: Walking can help to strengthen bones and muscles, which can help to prevent osteoporosis and falls.
- Improving balance and coordination: Walking can help to improve balance and coordination, which can help to reduce the risk of falls.
Here are a few studies that have examined the benefits of walking:
- “Walking and leisure-time physical activity: a population-based study of participation and health benefits” (Source)
- “Walking for Health and Happiness: A Review of the Relationship Between Walking and Mental Health” (Source)
- “Walking and Weight Loss: How Much and How Often to Walk to Lose Weight” (Source)
- “The Effect of Walking on Bone Health: A Systematic Review” (Source)
- “The Relationship Between Walking and Balance in Older Adults: A Systematic Review” (Source)
It’s important to note that the benefits of walking can vary depending on factors such as the intensity of the walk, the duration, and the frequency. It is generally recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, including walking. It’s also important to consult a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.