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Do You Have To Do 10k Steps Per Day?

For as long as I can remember ‘steps’ being monitored, there’s always been an almost unwritten rule that for any type of healthy lifestyle it must include at least 10k steps per day. 

It seems that the magical number of 10k comes from Japan with a marketing campaign for the 1964 Olympic games. 

Seen as though that is now almost 60 years ago, it’s lasted pretty well. 

But, is it actually relevant? 

Do you actually need to do 10k steps per day? 

The short answer is, maybe… 

Because, as with most things in health and fitness, it depends where those 10k steps per day fit into the bigger picture. 

If you don’t do any other form of activity or exercise, as in you don’t go to the gym or you don’t have a social hobby that includes you moving around then an average of 10k steps per day is a pretty good benchmark for overall health.

Is it the ‘ideal’ number for everyone, no. 

But it’s better than nothing. 

It keeps you moving, gets you outside so that’s a good thing. 

However, if you want to lose weight, it may not be enough in isolation. 

If you’ve read any of my other blogs by now you will be familiar with the calories in versus calories out (CICO) calculations. 

In a nutshell, if you want to lose weight you must burn more calories that you consume.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the more steps you do, the more calories you will burn. 

Hence, your likelihood of losing weight is increased. 

I am a big advocate of using steps as way of burning calories in combination with a personalised gym programme. 

This is because the gym sessions take care of your strength and high intensity levels of fitness and your steps compliment this well as it’s a low impact way of burning some extra calories without it draining your physically, especially if you’re body is running in a calorie deficit and energy levels won’t be optimal. 

But, steps is a time-consuming activity. 

10k steps per day isn’t a given. 

For example the corporate clients I work with, if they aren’t training with me that day and are just in the office may only be doing around 4k – 5k in a typical day. 

When we bear in mind that the average person will do around 6,000 steps per hour, the maths becomes pretty clear that they now have to find an hour at some point in their day just to walk to make up the numbers to get near to 10k. 

Possible but certainly not convenient for some people. 

Now, add in the fact of what can be best described as unpredictable British weather. 

Are you the type of person who come rain or shine if they get home from work will still get outside and make up the 10k steps? 

Only you can answer that.

Don’t forget that there are other ways to burn calories at a lower impact level. 

For instance, you could do 6k steps and 40 mins on the cross-trainer at a were low-level heart rate of around 100 bpm. 

This would equate to an overall very similar calorie burn.

There are lots of ways to do this, only your imagination is really the limiting factor. 

What always matters is where the steps fit into the bigger picture as I mentioned earlier. 

You may not have to do 10k steps. 

Could be more, could be less. 

It depends on your goals and what other activities you are doing. 

When it comes to working out what’s best for you, use one of the calorie burning calculators you can find on google or speak to a health and fitness professional to determine how many calories a day or week you are burning. 

From there you can work out your nutritional intake and adjust as necessary. 

Thanks for reading, have a great day.


Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal TrainingNutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.

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