17 In daily life/ fitness/ health

Is 10,000 steps a day realistic and achievable?

I’ve been thinking about this “walk 10,000” steps a day thing since I got my Jawbone fitness tracker that counts my steps. Before that I didn’t give any thoughts to steps because I exercise 7 days a week and don’t need to count steps.

I know the benefit of walking though. Once upon a time in the not so distant past I didn’t exercise for about 4 years (it was after all the cycling in Australia and before I started running), I had little kids or was pregnant or both and all I did was walk.

It helped in keeping my weight under control both during pregnancies and after. I had no strength or aerobic fitness but my weight was stable at a healthy level. I don’t know how much I walked these days in steps, all I know is that it was hours. At least 2. Usually 3 or 4.

I’m therefore not surprised that it’s recommended that everyone try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. If you’re interested in who started it all, here is who (and why):

The recommended 10,000 steps a day originated in Japan in the early 1960s. Japanese researchers led by Dr Yoshiro Hatano determined the average person took 3,500 to 5,000 steps per day, and that if they were to increase their steps to 10,000 steps per day, the result would be healthier, thinner people!

When I first blogged and tweeted about my new step counter and the whole 10,000 steps thing last week, a few people said 10,000 steps was unrealistic in this day and age, and that maybe this large number put people off from even trying.

Out of curiosity, I’ve been monitoring just how much I walk during a working day – most people who struggle with reaching 10,000 steps are probably office workers.

Here’s how my work day steps add up:

  • 2 minute walk to the tube station, one tube change walking up and down all escalators, 7 minute walk to Crossfit: 1900 steps
  • 13 minute walk to the office: 2471 steps
  • Walking around in the office: 1096 steps
  • Lunchtime 15 min walk around the shops: 1639 steps
  • Walking around the office, 5 minute walk to the tube station, one tube change walking up and down all escalators, 2 minute walk home: 2217 steps
  • Walking around the house until bed time: 1516

Total steps: 10,839

So looks like for me it’s not too difficult to hit 10,000 but I walk up and down every escalator I see and most of the time take the stairs at the office (if it’s 1-2 floors, not 8).

I barely go over 10,000 though so I can see how people who drive to the office would struggle with reaching 10,000 unless they took a long walk during lunch.

What do you think? Is 10,000 steps achievable for busy workaholic people these days? I think for those who stay at home with kids it’s totally doable, on Wednesdays when I stay at home and walk the kids to school I do 8,000 steps just from the two trips to school. 

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  • Reply
    January 19, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I got my Fitbit tracker for Christmas and I have been doing more than 10 000 steps every day since. When I’m running it is very easy to make the steps but when its office day, I might go for an extra walk in the evening (just around a block once) or run few times up the stairs at home but most days its between 12 000 – 14 000. When I was in London for Christmas I did easily 20 000 steps because… well everything is much further away. My point is that 10 000 steps is OK to achieve unless you take car everywhere and just sit at you r desk.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I have a Garmin vivofit and most days hit around 10,000. Sometimes more like 20,000 if I really push the boat out. However, on days where I work 6.30am-9.30pm it just doesn’t happen and it’s a struggle to hit 3,000-5,000. I don’t think 10,000 is unachievable all the time, but appreciate it is some times.

    • Reply
      January 19, 2015 at 9:46 am

      My 9-year old has the Vivofit. He’s really into it and getting his steps done. I’m glad to see what during a school day he usually gets over 13,000 steps logged. Boys 🙂 They must run around in the hallways a lot!

  • Reply
    Beki @MissWheezy
    January 15, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I do think it can be a struggle – I try and get up and walk around the office regularly, but often I’ll only make it to 7-8000 a day. My commute involves minimal walking, and I try to bring packed lunches + make tea in the office so unless I deliberately go out at lunch for a run/walk it’s a pretty sedentary day!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I’ve been thinking of getting one of these fitness trackers since it seems to me that I barely walk these days. It could be that I’m wrong but it would be nice to know exactly how much I walk and how I could do better. I always need something to motivate me.

    • Reply
      January 19, 2015 at 9:47 am

      I might have one to give away in a few months, I’ll keep you posted 😉

  • Reply
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)
    January 14, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I think it’s definitely achievable. It’s about incorporating small bits throughout the day if short on time, ie. walk the escalators or god forbid even the stairs! Getting off the bus/tube/train a stop early and walking the rest, and getting out on a break.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I’m genuinely shocked at how little I used to walk on a weekday. I recently bought a vivofit and regularly only clocked up about 5000 on a day in the office. Now I make a conscious effort to increase my steps – more trips to the water cooler (which means more trips to the loo!), lunchtime walks and going to meet people face to face for a natter rather than sitting at my desk and sending an email. I feel much better for it, but I do have to keep reminding myself to keep moving.

  • Reply
    Is 10,000 steps a day realistic and achievable?
    January 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    […] Read the rest of the post at its original source […]

  • Reply
    January 14, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I think it’s doable but as you said, for those who don’t drive door to door. I imagine looking at the timings of your daily walking that my 25 min walk to and from work would take care of quite a bit, plus office steps and lunch breaks.

    I think its quite rare to drive door to door. Can only think of my dad doing that and he is otherwise v active.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Driving door to door is probably not common in London but lot of my American friends do it and for them getting 10,000 steps a day requires some forward planning and regular little walking breaks.

  • Reply
    Anna @AnnaTheApple
    January 14, 2015 at 11:39 am

    When you consciously put your mind to it, 10,000 steps is achievable for most people. I get up early and walk my dog, I make sure I walk around in the office a lot – never staying still for longer than say 30-40mins unless in a meeting. I go for a walk at lunch and I consciously try and move more at home when I’m back from work. It’s very easy to sit down all day but when you think about it you can move more like you said.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      I do tend to walk a lot at the office. It’s a good thing that I like coffee, it’s a 300 step round trip to our cafe and I do that a few times a day 🙂

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