Below is a 10-week plan to help you gradually increase from 3,000 steps a day to 10,000 steps a day. (Where did the 10,000 step recommendation come from?)
Studies show that healthy adults get anywhere from 4,000 – 18,000 steps per day.
However, adults I’ve worked with who don’t exercise or move much during their workday end up with closer to 3,000 steps a day. That’s why I chose to start at 3,000 steps.
Use this plan as a guide to increase your steps, but be sure to progress at a pace that is realistic for you:
Start with your current activity level. For example, if you currently get 4,200 steps a day, start with Week 2.
Increase your steps from 3,000 a day to 3,500 a day (or a total of 24,500 steps a week).
Adding an extra 500 steps a day is equivalent to walking an extra ¼ mile. This will probably take 4-8 minutes depending on your current walking pace.
Increase your steps to 4,200 a day, or a total of 29,400 steps for the week.
Focusing on a total step count for the week (or an average of 4,200 steps a day) may be more realistic for some people. That way, steps from a highly active day can make up for missing steps on a less active day.
Increase your steps to 5,000 a day or 35,000 steps for the week
Increase your steps from 5,000 to 5,800 a day or 40,600 steps for the week.
Increase to 6,500 steps a day or 45,500 steps for the week
This is an increase of 700 steps per day from week 4. Seven hundred steps is equivalent to about 1/3 mile or 5-10 minutes of walking depending on your pace. The additional steps can be accumulated at one time or broken up throughout the day (at work, at home, etc.).
Increase from 6,500 steps a day to 7,200 steps a day or 50,400 a week.
Increase to 8,000 steps a day or 56,000 steps for the week.
Increase to 8,600 steps a day or 60,200 for the week.
Increase to 9,400 steps a day or 65,800 steps for the week.
Increase to 10,000 steps a day or 70,000 steps a week.
Continue increasing your steps if you want to, or continue striving for 10,000 steps a day. Whichever you choose, increasing your activity by up to 20% each week is realistic and a good rules of thumb to follow.
About the Author
FitnessforWeightLoss.com was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...
Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...