Do you really need to clock 10,000 steps a day?

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. There are many fitness trackers and built-in smartphone trackers available, as people become more interested in their health – and aim to clock a maximum of 10,000 steps on a daily basis.

But do you really need to clock this magic figure of 10,000?

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. [Photo by Chris Prytherch-Roberts]

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. [Photo by Chris Prytherch-Roberts]

Where the “10,000 steps a day” originated

The “10,000 steps a day” belief has its origins in Japan in the 1960s, when research then, indicated that people who successfully burnt 2,000 calories every week through exercise, have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another research study also revealed that clocking 10,000 steps daily can reduce one’s risk of contracting diabetes and lowers the blood glucose levels.

This works out to be burning 300 calories or taking 10,000 steps per day for the average person.

May not be the magic number for everyone

Walking is healthy for you. [photo from]

Walking is healthy for you.
[photo from]

But do note that 10,000 steps a day may not be the magic number suitable for everyone.

If you have just started exercising, then you may struggle to clock 10,000 steps. So you may want to consider lowering the target to say, 3,000 steps in the first week, and add another 500 steps every week after that. Eventually a person’s strength, stamina and fitness will increase and he or she will be able to clock a daily figure of 10,000 steps without much problems.

For senior citizens too, clocking 10,000 steps may also be a little on the high side for them as their bodies may not necessarily be able to cope with the demands. Instead, this group may be able to get away with say, taking about 5,000 or 7,500 steps per day, in order to stay healthy and keep their bodies robust.

Another group of people though – that is, those who are targeting weight loss, would have to aim for more than 10,000 steps each day. This is because burning 2,000 calories per week can help them to maintain their weight but it will not help them lose weight, though. To lose weight, you need to target a deficit of 500 calories a day, which equates to somewhere between 16,000 to 17,000 steps daily – assuming that you are not over-indulging after your workouts.

Senior citizens may not need to target 10,000 steps daily. [photo from]

Senior citizens may not need to target 10,000 steps daily.
[photo from]

Shake things up a little bit in your fitness routine

As you get fitter though, and are able to complete 10,000 steps of walking daily with ease, you may want to increase your target by improving your endurance i.e. aim to clock an extra 500 to 1,000 steps daily, every few weeks. Alternatively you could improve your strength and speed, by running  your allocated 10,000 steps rather than walking – and see where that takes you?

Or if you are already running, why not try and shake up your runs a little bit? Try running at a faster pace than you are used to, or head out to the trails rather than running your 10,000 steps in the nearby neighbourhood?

If you don’t like running, other activities such as cycling will also help to improve your strength and fitness, and at the same time, make your exercise sessions a lot more fun and varied. And you will find yourself enjoying them more – as you focus on your goal of clocking 10,000 steps a day.

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