How many steps per day do you really need?
You've probably heard the recommendation to take 10000 steps per day to achieve better health and lose weight but where did that magic number actually come from and is it right for you? Whether you're just starting an exercise program or are a veteran fitness buff here's what you need to know about step counts — and some ideas to reach your daily goal.
The history of 10000 steps
Given how often you hear about it you might assume that the recommendation to walk 10000 steps per day came from major scientific studies. In fact it was developed by a Japanese pedometer company back in the 1960s.
What's more the company didn't actually conduct any research to come up with their recommendation. It was just a marketing slogan that was easy for Japanese families to remember according to experts at Louisiana State University.
How many steps should you walk?
The recommendation to walk 10000 steps per day might have come from an unlikely place but that doesn't mean it isn't good advice. According to the nonprofit Shape Up America by taking 10000 daily steps you'll walk about 5 miles and burn up to 500 calories which could be enough to help you improve your fitness and possibly maintain your weight — or even lose weight.
Still experts say that there's no scientific evidence that 10000 steps is right for everyone. If you're older disabled or new to exercise the number could be too high. So if you're having trouble reaching the magic number or think you need to move more in order to lose weight talk to your doctor. Together you can figure out a daily step goal that's right for you.
Reaching your step count
Walking 10000 steps per day might sound daunting but it's easier than you think. According to Shape Up America! most of us take around 900-3000 steps without even thinking about it — doing things like going to and from the car walking around at the office and doing chores at home.
So how can you make up the difference? Here are some simple ways to increase your step count every day. Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to track your progress!
- Turn walking into a workout. Head outside or hop on the treadmill for a brisk stroll. Walking for 30 minutes adds up to about 2 miles or close to 4000 steps.
- Work more movement into your day. Walk your child to school park at the far end of the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Throughout the day your extra steps will start to add up.
- Turn family time into active time. Instead of hanging out on the couch with the gang get moving. A 30-minute dance party adds up to 3000 steps. An hour of ice skating covers more than 7000 say experts at the University of California Riverside.
Finally remember: If you're just starting to be more active you don't need to reach 10000 steps right away. Instead just do what you can — and find ways to add more steps over time. Before you know it you'll be strolling your way to success.