Is walking 10,000 steps the key to a healthy life?

people walking

10,000 steps per day

How many steps per day do you think you take? Unfortunately, research has shown that most Americans fall way short of reaching 10,000 steps per day.

Most of us understand that to lose weight, get in shape and improve our health, we need to move more, and one of the best ways to do this is by walking more. 

We have gotten a few questions about walking, especially about walking 10,000 steps. Some of those questions include:

“Why 10,000 steps?”

“Is 10,000 steps a day good?”

“How to convert 10,000 steps into miles?”

“How many calories do 10,000 steps burn?”

Research has proven the answer to these questions. We’ll also give you a few tips to hit your goal of reaching 10,000 steps a day.

But first, a history lesson.

In 1965, the Yamasa Clock and Company released the “manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000 steps meter” in Japanese. Since then, we have been reminded to walk 10,000 steps to improve our health.


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The benefits of 10,000 steps per day


10,000 steps can help you lose weight

To lose weight, we must create a calorie deficit. We can achieve a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories, moving more, or a combination of both. For example, walking more can help you create a calorie deficit.

Postmenopausal women who walk at least 10,000 steps per day have a lower BMI than those who don’t walk as much. (1) Walking 10,000 steps resulted in weight loss in sedentary, overweight, and obese adults. (1)


10,000 step helps you keep the weight off

Some of us have achieved the sweet feeling of reaching our goal weight. But many of us struggle to keep it off.

On average, when people lose weight, they regain more than half within two years. (1) In a recent study, people who had lost an average of 58 pounds, and maintained it for nine years, averaged 12,000 steps per day to sustain their weight loss. (10)


Walking more can decrease the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases

The World Health Organization states that cardiometabolic diseases are the number one cause of death globally. (1)

Cardiometabolic diseases include cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These diseases are mainly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Physical inactivity, smoking, and an unhealthy diet are the most significant causes of these diseases. (1)(2)(3)

The American College of Cardiology estimates that 47 million people in the United States live with cardiometabolic disorders, which puts them at an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. (1)

A 2,000 step increase in the average number of steps taken, up to 10,000 steps per day, is associated with a 5.5% lower risk of developing diabetes. (1)

In a 2011 study, researchers estimated that for any average daily step count, an extra 2,000 steps per day was associated with a 25-percent decrease in the frequency of dysglycemia over the following five years (13).

People who walk fewer than 5,000 steps per day have a considerably higher frequency of several adverse cardiometabolic risk factors than those taking higher steps per day. (1)

Going out for walks can improve our mental health.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S. every year. (1)

While in 2017 alone, 17.3 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. (2)

Women who walk at least 7500 steps per day had a 50% lower prevalence of depression than those taking 5,000 or fewer steps. While men taking at least 12500 steps also had a 50% lower prevalence of depression than those walking 5000 or fewer steps per day. (1)

Walking decreases anxiety more than HIIT and steady-state cardio. (1)


Walking 10,000 steps per day can reduce mortality risk

The World Health Organization states that living a sedentary lifestyle is a significant underlying cause of death, disease, and disability. It also states that approximately 2 million deaths every year are attributable to physical inactivity. 

Dwyer et al. found that a sedentary person that only takes 1,000 steps per day would decrease their mortality risk by 46% over the ensuing decade by taking 10,000 steps per day. (1)

In a study published Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that compared with taking 4,000 steps per day, taking 8,000 steps was associated with a 51% lower mortality risk from all causes. Taking 12,000 steps was associated with a 65% lower risk than 4,000 steps. (1)


Let’s take a closer look at 10,000 steps.

10,000 steps in miles

The average stride length is between 42% and 46% of our height. 

To estimate how many miles we walk when doing 10,000 steps, we used a conservative 43% of height for our stride length.

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How many calories does walking 10,000 steps burn?

The number of calories we burn when walking 10,000 steps depends on speed; the faster we walk, the more calories we burn.

Sex, age, and weight also contribute to how many calories we burn while walking.

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Choose the right shoes.

It is essential to have comfortable all-around shoes to help us reach our goals. The following shoes are great for those who would eventually start running and get in even better shape.

Walking shoes for women
Brooks Ghost 13

Click here to check them out


Walking shoes for men
Hoka One One Clifton 7

Click here to check them out



Devise a great walking playlist.

Listening to music while exercising improves work performance, decreases fatigue, and makes you feel like you’re not working as hard. (1) (2)

Here is an excellent website with playlists created based on how fast you want to walk or run.


Listen to an audiobook or podcast.

Listening to something enjoyable can make time go by a lot faster. Podcasts and audiobooks are not only entertaining but also teach us a thing or two.

Some of our favorite audiobooks include:

  1. Creativity, inc.:Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
  2. The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance
  3. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE.

Click here to get some awesome audiobooks.


Find a few walking buddies.

Friends can keep each other accountable.

Those who exercise and diet in groups lose more weight than those who do so alone. (1)

A calorie deficit is a must.

When walking to lose weight, it is crucial to be in a calorie deficit.

According to a recent study by Kleist et al., walking 2.5 hours per week enhances fat loss in people on a calorie deficit. (1)


Get a pedometer

People who wear pedometers increase physical activity, walk more, and significantly lose more weight than those who don’t. (1) (2)

If you’re looking to invest in a badass fitness tracker, we suggest checking out the Coros Pace 2.

Coros Pace 2

Click here to check out the Coros Pace 2


If you are not looking for something as sophisticated as the Coros Pace 2, check out the Fitbit Charge 4.

Fitbit Charge 4

Click here to check it out


Bring your pup!

An excellent way to reach 10,000 steps per day is by walking your dog. Not only that, but your pup will thank you. Daily walks can improve their physical and mental health too. (1)


Go for a hike

Walking in nature lowers stress levels more than walking on a treadmill. (1)

Another benefit is that when walking to lose weight, hiking can increase calorie burning by 28% compared to walking on a treadmill. (1)


Stay hydrated.

A water loss of just 2% of body weight can noticeably decrease performance (1). A loss of 5% or more of body weight can reduce performance by up to 30% (2).

We love the Giotto 32 ounce water bottle.

Click here to check it out.


The Bottomline

Walking 10,000 steps per day lives up to the hype. It helps us lose weight, keep it off, reduce the risk of disease and mortality, and improve our mental health and overall quality of life.

What are you waiting for? Get off of the couch and start getting those steps in.

You got this!!!



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