Weight Loss Tips

Walking and Pedometers: Do you really need 10,000 steps?

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If you buy a smart pedometer or fitness tracker like a Fitbit, chances are the device will encourage you to take 10,000 steps a day. But do you really have to walk this much to be healthy?

Experts say that while 10,000 steps a day is a good number to reach, any amount of activity beyond what you’re currently doing will likely benefit your health.

The origins of the 10,000-steps recommendation aren’t exactly scientific. Pedometers sold in Japan in the 1960s were marketed under the name “manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000 steps meter,” said Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. The idea resonated with people, and gained popularity with Japanese walking groups, Tudor-Locke said.

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Studies conducted since then suggest that people who increased their walking to 10,000 steps daily experience health benefits.

One study found that women who increased their step count to nearly 10,000 steps a day reduced their blood pressure after 24 weeks. Another study of overweight women found that walking 10,000 steps a day improved their glucose levels.

Walking 10,000 steps a day is not an official recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, the agency recommends adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, such as brisk walking. To meet the CDC’s recommendation, you need to walk about 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day, Tudor-Locke said.

If you normally walk about 5,000 steps a day, getting in an extra 30-minute, brisk walk into your day would take you to about 8,000 steps, Tudor-Locke said. The average U.S. adult walks about 5,900 steps daily, she said.

Still, there’s no reason to stop at 8,000 steps if you can do more, Tudor-Locke told Live Science. “We do know that more is better.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends that people using pedometers first set short-term goals, such as taking an extra 1,000 steps daily for one week, and then build up to a long-term goal such as 10,000 steps.

Tudor-Locke said that there’s not a single strategy to increase your step count, each person has to find what works for them. The most important thing is to increase your activity beyond what you were doing before.

Dr. Clay Marsh, chief innovation officer at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, agreed, and said that people don’t need to feel like they have to achieve 10,000 steps to be active.

“We just want people to get up, and get started,” Marsh told Live Science in an interview in February. “Any amount of activity that you can do today that you didn’t do yesterday, you’re probably going to start benefiting from it.” {Original article on Live Science.}

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  1. Wendy Cole

    December 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Vitoria thought this was interesting x

  2. Jane Shearl

    October 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I use a fitbit and have it linked to myfitnesspal.com. Love it, recently had a battery problem and contacted fitbit customer service, never been treated so kindly, they are sending me a new fitbit… I am 62 years old and these tools help me with my accountability to Me!!!

  3. Gloria Lemke

    May 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    What the least expensive and most accurate fit bit out on the market???

  4. Brandy Bell DelaRosa

    May 27, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I love my Fitbit as well! It’s definitely a motivator.

  5. Lisa Ostrover

    May 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I use my pedometer off and on. It doesn’t motivate me. I am going to take ithe dog on long walks whether I have it on or not. I am going to drive to the gym or the pool 5-6 times/week with or without it. At the moment it is recording how many steps my pocketbook has taken (its in the bottom)

  6. Katelyn Kender

    May 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I love my fitbit! Robin, the Fitbit stays put and is fairly accurate. However, it is not cheap! It pushes me. It records the floors I climb, steps, calories burned, sleep patterns, and my activity level.

  7. Cassandra Dancy-Potts

    May 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    It definitely motivates me to move more. Love the challenge of getting in 10,000 steps or more!

  8. Robin Spencer-Klimaszewski

    May 26, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Never found a pedometer that is accurate or won’t fall off.

  9. April Torres

    May 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Bonnie May, Monica New!!

  10. Guadalupe Ibarra

    May 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    That’s 5 mile walk , isn’t ???

  11. Jackie Wofford

    May 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    what happened to exercising for the good health, do you need a device to get fit and stay fit ?

  12. Maria

    May 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I am 61 years old. I had my tonsils taken out April 23rd and lost 15 pounds but lost muscle and at my age I wish I hadn’t. I walk 2 miles every day I need to lose 10 pounds more and build up muscle. Need your help.

  13. Bee Doubleu

    May 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Glamorpuss Glamourpuss Wand

  14. Joni

    May 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I think for me, wearing my pedometer makes me pay more attention to my movement each day. I am more apt to move more when I wear it. A true motivator.

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