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 - 7,499
low active
7,500 - 9,999
somewhat active
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.