Do you know if you walk enough in a day? How many steps should you actually take per day? Read here how many steps are healthy!
Since the advent of pedometers in smartphones and smartwatches, many people have kept track of how many steps they take per day. The guideline of at least 10,000 steps per day is often used. But where does this number come from? Do we really need to take 10,000 steps every day? Read here how many steps per day is healthy.
Do I really need to take 10,000 steps a day?
If we look at the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline regarding physical activity, there is not a single word about having to take 10,000 steps per day. This guideline only indicates that an adult should do around 150 minutes of activity per week at an average intensity. Or 75 minutes per week at a high intensity.
The current standard is that someone should exercise moderately intensively for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Reports from the Ministry of Health and Sports also do not mention the number of 10,000 steps.
Where does that 10,000 steps a day come from?
The number of 10,000 steps was first mentioned by a technology company in Japan in 1965. They believed that taking 10,000 steps daily would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since then, a lot of research has been done into how many steps someone should take every day. This appears to depend on age and lifestyle. The image below shows the minimum number of steps per age category they must take per day. The difference in the distribution seen in the image can be explained by the fact that different studies mention different numbers.
The numbers below are based on various studies that show that adults who take 7000-8000 steps daily, in most cases, meet the Healthy Exercise Standard of 30 minutes per day. It is important to note that to meet this standard, at least 3000 steps must be taken at a moderately intensive level.
Steps per day by age category.
First of all, it is good to know that any form of exercise at any intensity provides health benefits. For example, it is known that moderately intensive exercise reduces the mortality risk. Furthermore, exercise, for example, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
If we look specifically at the number of steps someone takes per day, the greatest health benefits can be achieved by people with a sedentary lifestyle. For example, research shows that with an increase of 1000 steps per day, the risk of neck complaints decreases by 14%. The risk of low back complaints also decreases with an increase in activity – but the number of steps involved has not yet been determined.
Another study found that walking 10,000 steps per day lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of depression/mood swings. A disadvantage of this study is that it did not examine whether these health benefits can also be achieved with fewer than 10,000 steps.
To meet the Healthy Exercise Standard, it seems sufficient to take 7000-8000 steps per day. 10,000 steps per day are also not required to achieve health benefits. In our opinion, the number of steps you need to walk per day is very dependent on your current health and lifestyle. For an inactive person, walking an extra 1,000 steps per day, for example, is already a nice goal. Our advice: try to take 3000 steps daily at a moderate intensity level and at least 7000-8000 steps in total.