A 10-week plan to 10,000 steps

A 10-week plan to 10,000 steps

Increase from 3,000 steps to 10,000 steps

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 general guide

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 Week 1 and move on to Week 2 only when you are ready.
  • Repeat the same week as often as you need to before moving on to the next.

Start with your current activity level. For example, if you currently get 4,200 steps a day, start with Week 2.

Week 1

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.

Week 2

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.

Week 3

Increase your steps to 5,000 a day or 35,000 steps for the week

Week 4

Increase your steps from 5,000 to 5,800 a day or 40,600 steps for the week.

Week 5

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.).

Week 6

Increase from 6,500 steps a day to 7,200 steps a day or 50,400 a week.

Week 7

Increase to 8,000 steps a day or 56,000 steps for the week.

Week 8

Increase to 8,600 steps a day or 60,200 for the week.

Week 9

Increase to 9,400 steps a day or 65,800 steps for the week.

Week 10

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.


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Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author 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...

Stephanie Averkamp

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...