Do you know how many steps are right for you?

Step out for exercise

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu

Step out for exercise

Photo: Frank Servayge CC-By-2.0

Did you know that the average sedentary adult in North America takes 3,000 – 5,000 steps per day? How many should we be taking? Excellent questions!

I’ve been wearing a pedometer for just over a year. While I exercise outside of work, and my family keeps me hopping, I also work at a desk 8+ hours per day. During this last year my goal has been to take 7,000 steps per day. That is a very doable amount.

While doing some recon on the subject on the interweb, I found that the blanket recommendation is 10,000 steps. That number isn’t based on any kind of research. Somebody just pulled it out of their… hat, and there you have it.

  • One mile is approximately 2,000.
  • If you take less than 5,000 steps per day, you are considered sedentary.
  • 5,5000 to 7,500 is considered low activity.
  • To be considered “somewhat active”, you’re looking at 7,500 – 10,000 steps.
  • 10,000 to 12,000 is labeled active.
  • Above 12K steps would be highly active.

There is a wide range of pedometers available. I’ve received a few of them in gift bags. These tell the number of steps, and that is about it.

Taking a look online, I found pedometers from $5 to $40. The more features, the higher the price. Of course, the less expensive ones probably aren’t built as well, but will serve a basic service.

The one that I wear was given to me. Through my day job, we are participating in a health challenge that will remain nameless. I plug mine into the computer every couple of days, and earn points. There is a website that keeps track of how active I am, which makes it kind of fun.

Do you wear a pedometer? How many steps do you average in a day?

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6 Responses to “Do you know how many steps are right for you?”

  1. I’ve been thinking about getting one – hmmmmm. And thank you for answering a question I have, “How far is X steps?” Thanks again!

  2. Todd says:

    Wow! Quick response. :) I love it. @Kris, you’re welcome. I wondered about it for quite a while as well. In fact, that question is what lead to this post. haha

  3. Tim says:

    I’ve been wearing a pedometer for a couple of months. The booklet that came with it recommended 10k steps a day. I get close, but usually don’t actually get up that far. It was a more expensive model, and included some software so that I can track my progress on my desktop.

    Todd, are you using the Virgin Healthmiles? My wife is using it, and sounds as you described.

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Todd Boyer, Todd Boyer. Todd Boyer said: Cool new blog post: Do you know how many steps are right for you? http://bit.ly/bb3jwB [...]

  5. Todd says:

    Tim, I can neither confirm, nor deny that accusation. :)

  6. [...] I don’t play a lot of golf, even though I have a good time when I do. Recently I was invited to play in this tournament, and they’re usually a ton of fun. Golf, in and of itself, isn’t exactly intense exercise. However, consider that we played 18 holes, and even while we were using carts, I still logged 18,000 steps on my pedometer. [...]

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