Where did 10,000 steps come from?

Where did 10,000 steps come from?

10,000 steps is considered healthy and realistic.

10,000 steps a day is equivalent to the amount of exercise recommended to promote and maintain health. Studies also show this amount of activity is realistic.

Take 10,000 steps a day for health

Getting 10,000 steps a day is another way to state the public health recommendation for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. (Or 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, 5 days a week).

This is in addition to your regular daily activities such as walking to and from your car, walking around at home or work, running errands, etc.

Add 30 minutes of exercise to get 10,000 steps

In order to accumulate 10,000 steps a day, most adults will have to add at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise to their day.

  • The average adult gets 6,500 steps a day
  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise is equivalent to 3,000-4,000 steps

Therefore, by adding 30 minutes of exercise, the average adult will accumulate 9,500 – 10,500 steps a day (and fall in line with public health recommendations).

Here’s the math:
  • 6,500 steps + 3,000 steps = 9,500 steps
  • 6,500 steps + 4,000 steps = 10,500 steps

Anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. However, aim (over time) to get at least 3,000 steps (or 30 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise a day. You may need more exercise to lose weight.

Breaking up your exercise into 10-minute segments (or approximately 1,000 steps) will give you the same benefit as 30 minutes of exercise at one time.

10,000 steps is realistic (?)

Studies show that healthy adults get anywhere from 4,000 – 18,000 steps per day. Therefore, 10,000 steps is thought to be realistic.

You might not believe so now, but if you gradually increase your steps over time, it is realistic. Look for any opportunity to add steps to your daily activities, whether you’re at work, at home, running errands, or traveling.

Tudor-Locke et al.: How Many Steps/day are Enough? For Adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011 8:79.

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Stephanie Averkamp

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