Getting outside and going for a walk every day is one of the healthiest habits to form.
Walking improves your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular health, decreases the risk of lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, helps manage weight, and improves mental health by elevating your mood and decreasing stress and anxiety.
But how much should you walk per day to improve your health and reduce the risk of disease?
Although any amount of walking is better than nothing, and more is usually better than less, many health and fitness professionals recommend that people should walk 10,000 steps a day.
Walking 10,000 steps a day can certainly sound like a monumental and unsustainable goal for beginners, but if you build up your walking workouts gradually, walking 10,000 steps a day can be a very doable goal.
In this article, we will discuss how to walk 10,000 steps a day, how many calories you burn walking 10,000 steps per day, how many miles is 10,000 steps, and tips for walking 10,000 steps per day.
We will cover:
- How Far Is Walking 10,000 Steps Per Day?
- How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 10,000 Steps a Day?
- Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
- 8 Tips for Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
Let’s jump in!
How Far Is Walking 10,000 Steps Per Day?
Whether you are setting up a new fitness watch or a pedometer that has the default activity goal set to walking 10,000 steps per day, or you’ve heard your doctor advise you to get in 10,000 steps per day, you’ve likely wondered, “How many miles are 10,000 steps?”
The distance you will walk if you walk 10,000 steps a day is dependent on how far you walk with each step, which is known as your step length.
The longer your steps (one foot to the other foot) or strides (the distance covered by one full gait cycle or right foot to right foot landing again), the greater the distance you will walk over the course of 10,000 steps.
Your average step length or stride length depends on several different factors, including your height, age, sex, fitness level, walking speed, and the terrain you’re walking on.
For example, taller individuals have longer legs, so they can take longer steps or strides, and the faster you walk, the longer your steps usually become.
Although your own step length may vary, according to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the average step length for women is approximately 26 inches, whereas the average step length for men is approximately 31 inches.
Now, how many miles is 10,000 steps?
Because a mile is 5,280 feet, this means that the average man takes 2,000 steps per mile, and the average woman takes about 2,437 steps per mile.
Therefore, walking 10,000 steps per day works out to walking 5 miles (8 km) for the average man and 4.1 miles (6.6) for the average woman.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 10,000 Steps a Day?
The number of calories you burn walking 10,000 steps per day depends on numerous factors, such as your body weight, walking speed, the number of miles you walk for 10,000 steps, the incline, the terrain, and your age and sex.
Wearing a heart rate monitor with a fitness watch that tells you how far and at what pace you are walking can give you the best estimation of the number of calories you burn walking 10,000 steps.
However, in the absence of this technology, you can approximate the number of calories you burn by walking 10,000 steps a day using METs.
Below, we’ve created a table that shows the calories burned walking 10,000 steps at different paces and body weights based on the METs values for walking from the Compendium of Physical Activities.
We used the average step length of 31 inches, so walking 10,000 steps is equivalent to walking 5 miles.
|Weight (lbs)||Weight (kg)||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 2.8-3.2 mph||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 3.5 mph||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 4.0 mph||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 4.5 mph||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 1-5% Grade||Calories Burned Walking 10,000 Steps a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 6-15% Grade|
Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
There are many health and fitness benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day.
Walking is a fantastic form of exercise that comes with numerous physical and mental health benefits.
These benefits include strengthening the heart and lungs and improving aerobic fitness, decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving blood sugar regulation, burning calories and helping manage weight, improving mood and decreasing anxiety, and strengthening the muscles in the legs.
Many beginners who want to start getting in better shape aren’t sure where to start.
Going to the gym or doing more vigorous forms of cardio, such as running or cycling, can be intimidating, but walking 10,000 steps a day is a great place to start.
Everyone knows how to walk, so you don’t need any special coaching or experience, and you don’t need any expensive equipment or a gym membership.
Walking is approachable and has a really low barrier of entry.
Plus, even if you are overweight or obese, or in poor shape, you can get started walking. Just take very short walks—a block or two or five minutes on the treadmill—if you’re starting from square one.
Slowly build up the length and intensity of your walks as your fitness improves.
8 Tips for Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
Getting started on a new fitness plan is often overwhelming. Here are some walking tips for beginners hoping to walk 10,000 steps per day:
#1: Establish a Routine
Find a time in your day that works best for your walking workouts, and try to stick to the same schedule every day so that it becomes a habit. You won’t have to worry about carving out time and remembering to take your walk because it will simply become part of the usual routine.
For example, you might walk first thing in the morning after your cup of coffee, you might prefer to take a walk during your lunch break at work, or perhaps you wrangle the whole family together for a walk after dinner.
There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” time of day to walk, but if you are consistent with when you do your walks, it is often easier to establish a habit.
#2: Wear a Pedometer
A pedometer or activity tracker can help you keep track of the steps you accrue during the day or on deliberate walks. This can be motivating and can help you keep yourself accountable for your walking goals.
#3: Walk With a Friend
Walking with a friend, family member, or dog can not only make the walks more enjoyable because social engagement and conversation will help the time pass, but a workout buddy also can increase accountability on days when you feel unmotivated.
#4: Try a Walking Challenge
A 30-day walking challenge is a great way to get started walking and establish a consistent habit.
#5: Accumulate Steps
Walking 10,000 steps a day in one long walking workout can sound intimidating and may not be sustainable on a daily basis, depending on the constraints of your schedule.
However, there’s nothing to say that you can’t break up your daily step goal into several shorter walks throughout the day.
In fact, the majority of the evidence that has demonstrated an association between higher daily steps and reduced cardiovascular disease risk and mortality has shown that it is the accumulated daily step count that matters, rather than any type of requisite for a long endurance walk.
Moreover, some of your 10,000 steps per day can also come from accumulated activity over the course of the day (walking to the mailbox, walking around the house, walking from the car into the store, etc.).
#6: Wear Good Walking Shoes
Walking 10,000 steps a day is roughly equivalent to walking 5 miles, so you need to be wearing proper footwear.
Get supportive walking or running shoes for fitness walks that feel comfortable and have the cushioning and stability you need for your personal biomechanics.
If you’re going to walk in running shoes, it’s best to walk in shoes with a low heel-to-toe drop and little to no heel flare.
#7: Drink Water
Make sure you are hydrating before, during, and after your walks.
If you are walking away from available water fountains, carry water via a handheld water bottle or a hydration pack.
#8: Sign Up for a Walking Event
You don’t have to be a runner to participate in organized 5ks and 10ks; you can walk the entire event.
Training to walk in a race or organized walk, especially if it supports a charity near and dear to your heart, is a great way to boost motivation during your daily walks.
A 10k is 6.2 miles, so if you’re walking 10,000 steps a day, you’re well on your way to the distance.
Walking 10,000 steps a day is one of the best things you can do for your health. It’s not too much that it becomes overwhelming, yet it’s enough exercise to significantly improve your health, longevity, and overall well-being.
Now that you know how to walk 10,000 steps a day and are ready to get started, you may need some help finding the best walking shoes for you. Check out our walking and running shoe guide for some guidance.
Enjoy your walks!