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Daily Step Count Basics - Is 10,000 The Magic Number?

Exercise don’t have to be consistently vigorous for it to matter for your personal fitness. Though getting your heart rate up is important when you’re trying to drop pounds and build fitness, you can burn a fair amount of calories by just putting extra non-strenuous movement in your day.

Get To Stepping

The generally accepted convention for number of steps per day is 10,000 steps, but it seems that the number primarily emerged from a marketing campaign for a pedometer that was sold in Japan. It’s difficult to find any actual research that supports why 10,000 is the magic number. I didn’t see any medical professionals who entirely disagree with it, either.

healthy stpesThere have been studies that show an increase in male health among males who walk at least 6,000 steps a day. That’s a pretty good indicator that there are health benefits to walking as a standalone exercise program. The step counting numbers are there for personally set milestones more than any specific medical benefit that can be traced to 10,000 steps. The body doesn’t care if you walk 9,000 steps per day or 11,000 steps per day as long as it’s being worked in the direction of getting the blood moving and sweat pumping.

Building Your Numbers

10,000 steps is about 5 miles in a day. If you don’t have a history of walking or heavy exercise, it probably won’t be realistic to expect you to walk that much right off the bat. One of the things to keep in mind is that you have a full 24 hours to get to 10,000 including your day-to-day activity. Any steps that you take throughout the day, whether you’re moving from your desk to the file room at your office or running down a track at the gym, count toward your daily steps.

The way to establish your step count for the day is to start wearing your pedometer before increasing your steps at all. That will tell you how many steps you get on a normal day. The recommended thing to do from there is increase your count by 500 steps per day. Eventually, you will get to 10,000 steps per day, and then you can decide if you want to continue to increase beyond that.

My Numbers Don’t Matter For Your Numbers

how many steps to takeIn general, there isn’t an actual number of steps per day that is recommended for people by a medical authority. It’s the same principle as most other medical issues. There are generalized guidelines for exercise, but everyone is different.

It’s not healthy for my husband to eat an entire bag of cookies in one sitting, but he has yet to gain a pound since I’ve met him. Did I mention that he is well over 6 foot? Just because it’s a rule of thumb doesn’t mean that it applies to everyone. In fact, medical rules of thumb often don’t apply to that many individuals, but seem to represent a loose trend over thousands of people.

Basically, you establish your own baseline by building on what you do rather than trying to meet someone else’s standards. Taking someone from 4,000 steps per day to 10,000 steps the next day isn’t realistic. However, having them build up to that number over a month is probably totally manageable.

Average Your Steps And Give Yourself A Break

Also, keep in mind that the 10,000 number is an average of your steps per day and not a set in stone number. You may walk almost 20,000 steps on the day that you’re at a theme park, and then you’ll only get to 7,000 steps on a day when you’re in an eight-hour meeting. As long as it’s working out to that many steps per day over a longer period of time, then you’ll be golden.

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