By Natalia Lubomirski published
How many miles is 10,000 steps? Well, that’s a good question, considering people often set this as their daily goal.
Many of us struggle to hit our 10,000 steps every day, but knowing how many miles 10,000 steps really is might just give you that push to get walking and help you to reap the many benefits of this simple exercise.
How many miles is 10,000 steps a day?
For those who are debating walking vs running and wondering how many miles they can clock up with their usual 10,000 steps every day, you won't need a calculator to figure it out - don't worry!
It's actually super easy to remember because it’s the equivalent of walking around five miles.
Thinking about the distance between your house and the next town can help put those five miles into perspective. If that feels daunting, don't worry! There are a few simple ways you can add 10,000 steps into your routine.
How to make sure you get those 10,000 steps in
If you’re struggling to clock up 10,000 steps, here are some smart and simple ways to reach your recommended daily step count.
- Set an alarm
More often than not we simply forget to cram in our 10,000 steps. Work, family, friends... we always have a lot to think about. So set a few alarms on your phone each day as a reminder to get up and stretch your legs.
- Love your lunch break
Sometimes it's hard to move more than a few steps to the kettle during your work breaks. But make sure you head out in the middle of the day for some fresh air and get those legs moving. Plus, it may help to get your creative juices flowing. Researchers from Stanford University found that walking may heighten your creative thinking by up to 60%.
- Have a walk date
Instead of catching up over coffee in a cosy cafe, set a date to meet a friend for a walk and talk. You could even offer to walk a friend or neighbour’s dog to really ramp up your step count.
- Maximise your chores
While we don’t love doing housework, we can at least reap the fitness benefits from it. Why not empty the dishwasher one plate at a time or bring the shopping bags in one at a time to tot up those steps?
- Use a step counter
Treat yourself to the best fitness watch for extra encouragement to ramp up that step count. Researchers from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine in Puducherry, India found that using a step counter can elevate motivation, goal setting and daily tracking.
Who invented 10,000 steps a day?
So where did magic number of 10,000 steps originate and why do we aim for it? Well, Japan is seen as the birth place of the 10,000 steps goal which popped up shortly before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
Before the Games, there was an increased focus on fitness amongst the Japanese population. The modern pedometer was introduced to the Japanese marketplace at roughly the same time. “Manpo-Kei” became the rallying slogan for these dedicated walkers, which literally translates as 10,000 steps.
The concept of walking 10,000 steps a day then spread to walkers around the world and became a target to hit.
What happens to your body when you walk 10,000 steps a day?
There are so many benefits of walking, so aiming for 10,000 steps a day is a good target. Regular walking can improve muscle strength and tone (think firm thighs and bum particularly!) ramp up endurance, speed up your metabolism, burn calories and shed those unwanted pounds.
It can also cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and strokes, as well as lowering your blood pressure. Plus, putting one foot in front of the other releases natural stress-busting endorphins that help reduce anxiety and elevate your mood. Whether you're walking for weight loss or just enjoying the great outdoors, it's totally free and you can do it alone or with others.
How to lose weight by walking 10,000 steps a day
Going for a leisurely stroll has many mood-boosting benefits, but it’s not going to help you get fitter or lose weight. To upgrade your strolls to walking workouts, you need to pick up the pace.
If losing weight is a priority, personal trainer Joanna Packard explains that it’s important to walk fast enough to raise your heart rate. At this pace, you should be breathing noticeably harder, but still be able to speak in full sentences, and you should cover around a mile in 20 minutes.
Joanna also recommends including a few longer walks in the week too. During the first 30 minutes of exercise, your body uses sugars stored as fuel – once you pass this threshold, you'll start to burn fat. Depending on your weight and fitness level, an hour power walking could use up 200 to 600 calories.
Natalia Lubomirski is a health journalist with 14 years experience in the publishing industry. She has worked for a number of well-known magazines and websites including Marie Claire, marieclaire.co.uk, woman&home, Top Sante, Boots and The Telegraph.
She likes to think she practices what she preaches when it comes to health and fitness. She loves the great outdoors and you’ll often find her up a mountain somewhere. She’s climbed eight major mountain ranges across four continents and hit the summit of Half Dome (in Yosemite) during her honeymoon.
In her past life she traded backpacks and hiking boots for breeches and a helmet as a fencer for 13 years, wielding an epée for Team GB during her teenage years. She’s also passionate about all things health, particularly vaccinations, and will happily jump on her soap box at any given opportunity to talk about their benefits to anyone who will listen!
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