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For the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of hype around walking 10,000 steps a day and tracking how many steps we’re taking.
But, I kept wondering are there actually any real benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day?
As any good Nurse Practitioner would do, I took to the books and medical journals and checked out all of the latest research.
What I found is that there are absolutely benefits to walking 10,000 steps per day.
As a whole, Americans spend too much time sitting. We’re the drive-thru, home delivery population who wants convenience and ease.
However, all of this sitting is actually harmful for us.
America is one of the most obese countries in the world.
The simple act of getting up and walking can make all the difference for your weight and your overall health.
Walking is one of the most basic and innate human activities.
Before cars, subways, or trains, we walked.
So if you want to lose weight and feel healthier, let’s get walking!
Why 10,000 Steps Per Day?
The recommendation of 10,000 steps per day originally came from Japanese researchers in the 1960’s.
They found that on average, people walk 3000 to 5000 steps per day.
If people were to increase their steps to 10,000 per day, they’d achieve health benefits and weight loss.
Although 10,000 steps per day isn’t a magic number that will make you skinny overnight, it’s a good starting point.
How Many Miles In 10,000 Steps?
Walking 10,000 steps per day is about the equivalent of walking about 5 miles per day.
Unless you have a very active job such as nursing or waitressing, you’ll have to make an effort to walk this much.
Most people need to add in brisk walking or other activity to reach 10,000 steps per day.
Will 10,000 Steps a Day Help You Lose Weight?
Will walking 10,000 steps a day help you lose weight?
Honestly, it depends on where you are now.
If you’re starting point is completely sedentary, then yes, you’ll definitely lose weight walking 10,000 steps per day.
However, if you’re relatively active to begin with, you might not see a tremendous weight loss with 10,000 steps per day.
But, that being said, there are still loads of physical and mental health benefits of walking 10000 steps a day.
Why Is Walking Good for You?
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults aim to move more throughout their days and have less sedentary time or time sitting still (US Department of Health and Human Services).
Whenever you can find time to move a little more, you will benefit.
If you want to lose weight and improve your health, all you need to do is start moving.
You don’t need to run marathons to see huge benefits!
Plus, walking is free and available without a gym membership or gym equipment.
Walking along with other physical activity provides loads of health benefits.
- Boost your energy
- Clear your mind
- Help you manage your weight
- Strengthen your heart
- Lower your blood sugar
- Ease joint pain
- Improve your mood
How To Get Started Walking
With all goal setting, I always recommend starting small. If you spend your entire day sitting at a desk, going from zero to 10,000 steps is a huge jump.
Some activity is always better than no activity.
If you don’t move at all right now, start with a goal of walking 3,500 to 5,000 steps the first few days.
See how you feel and gradually build up from there.
Also, you don’t need to get all of your steps in at once. If you don’t have time to go for a 3 or 4-mile walk every day, that’s ok.
Break your steps up into smaller goals and walk throughout the day.
Try to add walking breaks throughout your daily life.
Some easy ways to walk more:
- Park further in a parking lot.
- Walk instead of driving to the local store.
- Try to take the elevators instead of the stairs.
- Walk to your coworker instead of sending them an e-mail.
- Go for a walk with your kids
- Dance around the house
- Go Shopping- have you ever heard of mall walkers? This is a great way to move more and have some fun while you’re at it!
(Resource: National Institute of Health)
All steps add up, so try to just move a little more throughout the day.
Another great way to get more steps in is to set a reminder to walk a few steps every hour.
These small goals really add up throughout the day.
When you’re ready to get serious about walking, I recommend investing in a FitBit or Apple Watch.
As much as I love my iPhone, their built-in pedometer is just not accurate.
If you want a more affordable option, this FitBit has a very accurate pedometer and heart rate monitor without all of the bells and whistles of an Apple Watch.
If you’re serious about losing weight and living a healthier life, it’s time to get moving.
Either get outdoors and start walking or start moving more with my favorite free YouTube workouts.
No matter what activity you choose to do, moving more is always a great idea!
Start walking with your FitBit and aim for 10,000 steps per day.