With the convenience of fitness trackers and mobile health apps, tracking your daily fitness has never been easier. The average total steps everyone is advised to do per day is 10,000 steps, which is equivalent to 5 miles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, or 150 total per week. Before the time of Fitbits and other health trackers, however, the 10,000 number was first used in Japan during the mid-60s in a campaign to promote a pedometer. Studies by Bio Med Central (BMC) show that the average human can walk from 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day, depending on stride and lifestyle. 10,000, being somewhere in the middle, is said to be the reasonable amount of steps for a healthy person. 

Walking 5 miles per day meets that recommendation, however, different health conditions and goals may differ. It’s great to know how much per day is a healthy amount of steps, but you should also consider if you have any underlying health issues and what kind of goals you want to meet. You may be able to do more if you’re able to, or if you would like to lose weight. You can also do less if you may be recovering from an injury, or just starting out a new fitness routine. Over time, your endurance builds up anyway. The more used to walking you are, the easier it gets for you to walk more. It’s also easy for us to get caught up in tracking the numbers, but at the start you may just want to do more than your usual routine, without looking at the numbers.

According to leading fitness tracker company Fitbit, here are some common goals you may want to achieve:

General Exercise and Gains

The Mayo Clinic advises those who are newer to exercising or recovering from injuries to be able to do at least 1000 steps per day, or 5000 per week. This can be made easier by exerting in more effort, like choosing to walk to nearby places you would normally go to with a car, or parking further than your usual parking spot, depending on how fast you can walk. To be able to start, see how much you do per day and then gradually try and do more than what you do regularly. Work at a comfortable pace and try to maintain the same amount for a week or two, until you’re ready to do more. Repeat this until you’ve reached the average 10,000, you’ll be doing more in no time. 

Improvement and maintenance

Maintaining your newfound fitness level can be done by keeping at the 10,000 mark. Being able to do this many steps can help reduce the risks of high blood pressure and other heart-related conditions like strokes. 

Weight Loss

The numbers really depend on a couple of factors: age, gender, diet, and even lifestyle. However, if your goal is to lose weight, it is fair to say that 10,000 and above is the number of steps to aim for. If you’re already doing 10,000, you can start by gradually going up a couple of steps. 

A study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a slower pace at losing weight, typically ½ pound or 1 pound per week, and completing 10,000 steps per day is equivalent to 2000 to 3500 calories per week! A pound of fat is more or less equal to 3500 calories. Depending on your lifestyle, you could be losing this much just by doing some walking, which is often underestimated as a workout. 

Walking is also a very easy thing as it is already incorporated into our usual lifestyles, no matter how much they differ. Many people from different age groups are able to do walking, and the difference lies in the stride and distance. Some useful tips for incorporating more time to walk into your daily routine may include:

  1. Don’t try and do 10,000 steps all at once, remember it is equivalent to approximately 30 minutes of exercise. Try to break it up into certain times during the day. 
  2. Take the stairs! I know it’s so much more convenient taking the elevator, but you’ll be able to reach your goal faster when you climb those stairs, get your heart going, too. 
  3. Walk to where you would usually take the car to. If the distance is fairly near, and the weather is nice, opt for a walk. Get that much needed vitamin E while you’re at it. 
  4. Pace while you talk to someone or are doing something on your phone, anything you usually do in place or sitting down can be done standing up or walking!

Don’t feel pressured not being able to complete your goals at first. There are many factors that go into our day, if you don’t have the time to walk, there’s always tomorrow. What’s important is that you exert an effort to go the extra mile for yourself.

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