The Truth About Walking 10,000 Steps a Day: Benefits and Myths

The Truth About Walking 10,000 Steps a Day: Benefits and Myths

It is widely known that walking is a healthy form of exercise. It is a basic form of human movement, but it can also strengthen muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular health, and promote weight loss.

If you like to count your steps, you have probably seen the number 10,000 many times. It is the number of steps many fitness and wellness professionals recommend you should take daily. However, when striving to achieve this target, you may wonder how it affects your body.

Below, we will talk about walking benefits and myths, discuss how many calories are burned in 10,000 steps, and bring you the origins of this magic number.

The Origins of the 10,000-Step Concept

The 10,000-step goal originates from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A Japanese manufacturer, Yamasa Clock, introduced a pedometer device called “Manpo-kei”, or “the 10,000 step meter” in English. The idea quickly caught on, and it soon became a global standard for step tracking. Today, many fitness and health apps set it as a daily target.

How Far is 10,000 Steps?

Ten thousand steps are equivalent to walking five miles or eight kilometers, depending on your height, pace, and walking style. Therefore, to complete your 10,000 steps in one go, you need to walk for about an hour and forty minutes.

Pace and speed are essential because the faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. A leisurely 30-minute stroll burns around 102 calories, but if you want to achieve better results with a 5 mile walk calories goal, you’ll need to increase the intensity.

Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day


If you are determined to up your daily strides to 10,000, you can expect a wealth of benefits.

  • Walking boosts your mood, promotes brain function, and reduces anxiety and stress. You’ll feel more focused and happier, which leads to increased mental and physical well-being.
  • A regular walking routine can also benefit your joints. During physical activity, your body releases synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints. Walking also bolsters physical performance, reduces knee pain in those with arthritis, and increases circulation.
  • Leisurely walking also promotes speedier recovery and enhances blood flow to your muscles. As a result, your muscles will feel less stiff, and your body will recuperate faster.
  • A 10,000-step walk can also improve lung and heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure.
  • Walking also contributes to muscle strength, especially in the case of core and lower body muscles, leading to better posture and spinal health. It also engages other muscle groups, such as the hips, the legs, and even the upper body if you swing your arms in the process. This way, you can tone your muscles and improve overall definition, balance, stamina, and stability.
  • Regular walks can improve bone health and prevent conditions like osteoporosis. Walking puts stress on your bones and stimulates them to become stronger and denser.
  • A 10,000-step walk also impacts your sleep patterns. You can expect enhanced sleep duration, quality, and overall satisfaction.
  • Lastly, walking can be an excellent social connection and emotional support opportunity. You can bond with others, engage in meaningful conversations, and share health experiences. It can be a great motivator to put on your shoes and achieve that 10,000-step goal daily.

The Truth About the 10,000-Step Target

When setting a 10,000-step target, people often ask themselves, “Can walking help lose weight?” Every physical activity contributes to calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss, and it is estimated that walking 10,000 steps every day burns 3,500 calories per week.

However, this is different for every individual due to a number of factors. The first one is your body weight. If you weigh around 180 pounds, you will most likely lose 3,500 calories. However, you probably won't reach this target if you are lighter. It means that this step goal works only for specific body types.

You should also factor in pace and intensity. Simply counting the steps is not enough. To lose weight faster, you should engage in brisk walking and incorporate strength training. Everyone has different physical needs and fitness levels, which must also be considered.

Additionally, children, adults, and seniors have different daily step capabilities, which underscores the fact that everyone’s fitness and mobility levels are different. Children and adolescents are more active, and they can easily reach a 10,000 steps calories goal.

For adults, a daily dose of 10,000 is sometimes unachievable. Considering that an average person takes approximately 5,000 steps per day, they would have to double their efforts to reach the goal. People who are 60 or older are left out of this equation, as research shows that taking 6,000–8,000 steps per day increases the risk of premature death.

After all, health and fitness experts believe that you can reap physical activity gains when you consider intensity, duration, diet, sleep, and tailored goals you want to achieve. They also suggest that tracking steps increases the awareness of your daily activity levels, but it must not be perceived as an ultimate benchmark for good health.

Don’t Forget About the Diet


If you are wondering how many calories you can burn in 10,000 steps, the answer depends on your weight, body composition, daily calorie intake, and the speed of your metabolism.

To lose fat, you must be in a caloric deficit. For instance, your metabolism burns 1,800 calories naturally a day, and walking 10,000 steps contributes with 500 more. That is 2,300 calories in total.

However, if your daily calorie intake is also 2,300, you won’t lose any calories in 10,000 steps but only maintain the current weight. Once you reduce your daily calorie intake, you’ll start shedding pounds.

Tips on How to Incorporate a 10,000-Step Goal Into Your Routine

To achieve 10,000 steps a day, you must first establish realistic goals. Start small, set achievable milestones, and monitor your progress along the way.

Invest in a smartphone app or a pedometer for accurate step counting. Using these devices, you can monitor your daily activity levels and receive real-time feedback on your progress.

Put walking at the top of your daily schedule. Just like any other important appointment, allot specific time periods for walking. Also, choose walking over driving whenever possible when running errands or taking short trips.

Go for a stroll to the park or meet friends for coffee by walking to nearby stores, parks, or cafes. You can easily increase your daily step count with this simple strategy and reach a 10,000-step goal eventually.

    EROS Smart Scale

    EROS Smart Scale

    Conclusion — Tailor Your Goals

    Although walking 10,000 steps a day may not yield the same results for every individual, its benefits are undeniable. Walking increases mobility, improves mood and brain function, strengthens muscles and bones, and contributes to healthy weight loss.

    If you are active, you won’t find it hard to incorporate this step target into your fitness regimen. However, if you are less active, you can start with 3,000 or 5,000 steps per day and gradually increase the number until you meet the goal.

    When setting a daily step count, consider your age, experience, ability, and overall physical activity. If you have a medical condition, you can even seek approval from your physician.