How Many Steps a Day Do You Need?

Do I need 10,000 steps?
In the 1960s, pedometers made in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics were called the “10,000 steps meter.” After all these years, the 10,000 step goal has remained, but do we really need that many steps?

A number of studies have explored this goal. It has been found that aiming for at least 10,000 steps or more daily along with a healthy, balanced diet may prevent weight gain and decrease the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

Average steps for Americans
The average American takes approximately 5,000 steps daily, totaling 2 ½ miles. In a culture where being sedentary has become the norm, taking part in any physical activity is better than sitting, as being inactive increases chronic disease risk.

Tracking steps
Not sure how many steps you take in a day? With all the technology available through smartphones, pedometers and activity bands, tracking your steps can be simple. To determine how active you are, consider downloading a walking app or purchasing an inexpensive pedometer. You may be more or less active than you thought, and seeing the numbers throughout the day provides motivation to keep moving.

How much physical activity is needed?
When walking at a moderate pace, it can take roughly 90 minutes to 2 hours to hit 10,000 steps. The number may seem like a lot, but adding short intervals of walking throughout the day can help to achieve this goal. Consider taking a 15-minute walk before work, walking during your lunch break, parking farther away from your destination and taking the stairs.

Special considerations
Not everyone may be able to hit 10,000 steps due to illness, age, lifestyle or physical ability. Find a step range that works for you and work toward safely increasing steps daily. To keep yourself healthy, monitor your diet and aim for 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activities you enjoy. Be sure to limit sedentary behavior as much as possible.

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