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Do You Need To Walk 10,000 Steps A Day – Is It Essential?

The 10,000 steps a day route to perfect health is a myth. It’s based on research into elderly women. An arbitrary number that will never be a real indicator of fitness.

Pounding around the living room at night, just to hit your 10,000 steps before retiring to bed, isn’t the best way to unwind and get a good night’s sleep.

I’m all for walking more and studies show fast walkers live longer, but let’s be realistic. Do you really need to walk 10,000 steps a day if you want to be fit?

do you need to walk 10,000 steps

Why Walk 10,000 Steps A Day?

Walking more is definitely good for us, and whatever your fitness regime, adding walking into the mix, will give you benefits.

But the question is why 10,000 steps? How far is 10,000 steps and why not walk more or less?

You can find out how far is 10,000 steps in my article:

How Much Is 10,000 Steps In Miles And Calories Burned?

It depends on your height and pace but it’s between 4 to 5 miles. The amount of steps it takes to cover one mile can vary significantly.

The number seems to come from the Japanese word Manpo-Kei and a push to improve the nation’s fitness before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

It’s possible the 10,000 steps were the default setting on a pedometer introduced in Japan at approximately the same time. Manpo-Kei became a popular slogan, as walking was embraced as an affordable way to exercise, accessible to everyone.

Walking 10,000 steps a day caught on and today is seen as a marker of good health and fitness around the world.

Will Walking 10,000 Steps A Day Make You Healthy?

Subsequent health studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps a day is only beneficial if it becomes a long-term habit. It’s what you do every day that counts.

Even walking just 4000 steps a day, every day can be enough. It’s better to find your motivation to exercise and walk regularly than start a habit you can’t maintain.

It’s also important to balance your walking with your other sporting activities. If you’re already getting plenty of exercise, walking isn’t essential.

Ways To Make Walking A Regular Habit

Here are ideas for making walking part of your daily routine:

Leave the car at home.

Often getting your first car is the biggest hit to your health. Instead of just popping to the grocery store on foot, car owners reach for their keys.

Try leaving the car at home unless it’s essential. How about having regular car-free days or just using your car for the commute to work.

Walk in your lunch break.

Taking a walk during your lunch break will not only improve your fitness, but it’s also a great way to clear your head. Your productivity will definitely benefit.

Start your day with a walk.

Walking is a perfect exercise in the morning. Not too strenuous, making it a good way to ease into the day.

Get a dog.

Now getting fit shouldn’t be the only reason for getting a dog, but dogs do need to be walked. Maybe that’s why they’re called a “man’s best friend”…

Walk around the office.

Take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk to the opposite end of the building to discuss an issue in person. Find ways to increase your walking during office hours.

You’ll benefit from the leg stretch and being more visible around the office may even help your career prospects!

Getting hung up on walking a rigid number of steps doesn’t really make sense, but a regular walking habit is definitely good for you. I’m not a slave to my pedometer, it’s just a little reminder that I need to exercise. How about you?

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Pounding round the living room at night, just to hit your 10,000 steps before retiring to bed, isn't the best way to unwind and get a good night's sleep.

I'm all for walking more but let's be realistic. Do you really need to walk 10,000 steps a day? #fitness #10000steps #walking
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Do you really need to walk 10000 steps a day?

The idea of walking 10,000 steps a day comes from Japan. It was a push to improve the nation’s fitness before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The figure is random but it’s a realistic amount. Most people should manage to walk 10,000 steps (4 to 5 miles) a day. It’s best to commit to a number of steps you can walk everyday. If that’s 6,000 steps it’s better than walking 10,000 steps for a week then giving up.

How far do you have to walk to do 10000 steps?

10000 steps is about 4 to 5 miles. The distance depends on your step length. Taller or faster walkers have a longer step length.

How many steps a day is considered active?

10,000 steps a day is considered active but it’s hard to match this to recommended health guidelines. The health guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (such as a brisk walk). This is an absolute minimum for staying healthy and only equates to 3000 extra steps a day.


Tuesday 11th of June 2019

I agree I don't have a dog but a 10 year old and we walk to school and back which used to take 20 minutes and now we are down to 15 minutes. All my local errands I do them walking.. I don't know if I do 10 00 0steps I just know that I am doing my best to be healthier and it is a good example for my boy who don't want to fake the car to help the environment which is another point. Kill 2 birds with one stone


Wednesday 12th of June 2019

Hi Corinne, Yes it makes such a difference walking everywhere... and if everyone did the same we wouldn't have such high pollution levels in cities from diesel fumes...Wins all round. I don't think it matters so much how far you walk, it's just making walking a daily habit. Find it's good for the mind too...