Q: Where does the 10,000 steps a day benchmark come from?
A: Fitness trackers are a source for the recommendation of taking 10,000 steps a day for a healthy lifestyle, but research does suggest it helps people reach recommended activity goals, according to UnityPoint Health physical therapist Jeremy Fehrmann.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults participate in two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, each week, which equates to half an hour on five days.
“Without extra activity, people’s average steps per day equal roughly 4,000 to 7,000 steps,” Fehrmann said in an article for UnityPoint Health. “3,000 to 6,000 additional steps everyday (or 1.5 to 3 miles) should come from another source of activity.”
To reach the two hours and 30 minutes, the CDC recommends spreading out the activity through the week and even in smaller bursts, although moderate or vigorous activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at one time.
Although the two hours and 30 minutes guideline is recommended for important health benefits, the CDC also recommends doubling that time to benefit even more from physical activity.
The CDC also recommends muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
— Shelley K. Mesch