Why 10,000 Steps a Day?
It has become common knowledge that the number of steps we need to walk in a day is 10,000. Have you ever wondered why and where that came from?
First, know that walking and moving more indeed have many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health (can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars), decreased chance of many cancers, better mental health and cognition and many others.
Now why is 10,000 steps the magic number? It is based on some rough estimations and assumptions. First, the amount of calories you expend when walking is based on your weight. The heavier you are, the more energy it takes to move, so more calories are expended. As a rough estimate, for a 180-pound person, around 100 calories are burned for every mile walked.
Also, the walking speed and distance are important when calculating accurate calorie expenditure. Intensity counts! A moderate intensity for walking is 3 to 3.5 miles per hour. If you are at a light intensity, around 2 miles per hour, increasing to a moderate intensity means you could burn 50 percent more calories in the same amount of time. The faster you walk, the more distance you can cover in the same time period and the more calories burned.
The last component of the 10,000 steps-per-day theory is that with an average stride length it takes about 2,000 steps to walk a mile. If you walk 10,000 steps per day at that moderate intensity – 3-3.5 miles per hour - you will cover five miles, and will burn about 500 calories. If you do this seven days per week, you will burn 3,500 calories and lose one pound per week via exercise. If you also are making nutritional/eating changes you will lose even more weight per week.
Better health and weight loss are goals
Remember that the primary reason for 10,000 steps per day is for better health and increased weight loss. But how walking affects your weight loss depends on the number of calories you consume as well as the intensity of your walks.
There are many reasons to increase your walking or other exercise that you can do. Weight loss is important for many, but so is starting on the journey to better health, physical function and a better life!