Library

Why 10,000 Steps A Day?

The '10,000 steps' goal puts a focus on the accumulation of activity across the whole day. With continual advances in technology and our workplaces becoming more sedentary it now takes a concerted effort to make active choices. Some ideas are:

  • Walk and talk with a colleague instead of emailing
  • Parking the car further away from the entrance to shops
  • Walk to the corner store for milk and the paper

It is sometimes easier to make these choices when you have a motivational tool such as a pedometer reminding you how many, or how little steps you have done for the day.

10,000 steps is the recommended daily step goal for a healthy adult. The following pedometer indices have been developed to provide a guideline on how many steps are enough1.

Steps Per Day
Activity Level
<5,000
sedentary
5,000 - 7,499
low active
7,500 - 9,999
somewhat active
>10,000
active
>12,500
highly active

With this in mind, there are some groups where 10,000 steps may not be an accurate goal such as the elderly and children. This is where using a pedometer to see how many steps you currently do, and then setting higher goals to increase physical activity may be beneficial. See our Setting Your Goals section for more information.

A recent study also found that more steps are achieved if people are recommended 10,000 steps a day compared to the recommendation of a 30 minute walk2. This is why we recommend 10,000 steps a day as well as supporting the need for individuals to aim for the National Physical Activity Guidelines (older adults, adults, adolescents & children) to achieve health benefits.

Please note that these are only a guide and do not provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before commencing a physical activity program.


1 Tudor-Locke, C., & Bassett, D.R. Jr. (2004). How Many Steps/Day Are Enough? Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health. Sports Medicine, 34(1): 1-8.
2 Hultquist, C.N., Albright, C., Thompson, D.L. (2005) Comparison of walking recommendations in previously inactive women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 37(4):676-683.