I’ve walked 10,000 steps a day for the past 90 days — here’s what I learned

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January is the time of year when people start to set fitness goals. Whether that might be running a marathon, or just getting more steps into your day-to-day life, having a goal can help keep you motivated on days when you might not want to head outside. One goal you might have seen on social media is walking 10,000 steps per day. But what are the benefits, and is it enough to make physical changes to your body? 


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To find out more, I laced up my sneakers and committed to walking 10,000 steps per day for 90 days. Whether you’re walking for weight loss or just rethinking your commute to work, there are several benefits to increasing your daily step count. Take a look at all of the different ways walking for 30 minutes per day can benefit your health here. We’ve also found the best under-desk treadmills for upping your miles as you work, and apps that allow you to get paid to walk

It’s important to remember that if you’re a complete beginner, or you’re returning to exercise from injury, you should check with your doctor before taking on any fitness challenge. 

How far is 10,000 steps per day?

Most of the best fitness trackers on the market will track your steps, but if you’re not ready to invest in one, you can pick up a pedometer relatively cheaply. But how far, in miles, is 10,000 steps?

The answer is around five miles. Most people walk with a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet, so it would take more than 2,000 steps before they reach a mile. Obviously, the taller you are, the longer your stride is likely to be. 

While five miles might seem like a daunting task, it’s easy to build up your daily steps by making some simple changes to your routine. I have a dog, so I go on two walks per day even come rain or shine, but if you’re not used to walking, why not take the stairs not the elevator at work, or get off the subway a couple of stops earlier. Alternatively, take work calls or meetings as you walk around the block or local park. 

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I’ve walked 10,000 steps a day for the past 90 days — here’s what I’ve learned 

I didn’t lose any weight

It’s important to caveat here — I’m currently 8 months pregnant, so the goal of sticking to this step count wasn’t to shed pounds. That said, if weight loss is your goal, walking can help. According to the American Council on Exercise, the average person who hits 10,000 steps per day will burn up to 3,500 calories per week. To lose weight (and keep it off) you need to burn more calories than you consume, and walking is one way to help you do that. 

If you are looking to burn more calories, you can find out more about walking for weight loss in our guide here, but the gist of it is to increase your pace and really get your heart rate up. This might mean adding in hills, or just walking a little faster. Alternatively, you can add some of the best ankle weights to your workout. 

It made me think about my form

As a marathon runner, I spend a lot of time thinking about my form when I run — I try to keep my core engaged and my torso upright as I clock up the miles. Pregnancy has been a bit of a shock to the system when it comes to maintaining good posture, mainly because of the extra weight on the front of my body. 

As I walked, I thought about keeping my shoulders down and back, to avoid hunching, especially when walking uphill. You should also avoid over striding as you walk, as this can put stress on your legs and lower back — keep your steps under your body to maximize power with each push-off, rather than forcing your body to catch up with your legs.

Having a goal kept me motivated

Of course, there were days when I really couldn’t be bothered to head out for a walk — especially when it was dark and rainy, and I’d already been out twice with the dog that day. Yet setting myself this low-impact goal kept me motivated, and on a number of occasions, it forced me out of the house when I’d have probably dropped onto the sofa. Of course, if you have one of the best treadmills, you can also try and hit your goal indoors, too.

Talking of motivation, I recommend strapping on one of the best fitness trackers to help you keep track of your progress, and adding a motivational playlist or podcast to keep your mind occupied. On other days, I phoned someone on my walk to make the time pass faster, or arranged to meet up with a friend for a walk rather than sitting in a coffee shop. 

It was completely free

Unlike an expensive gym membership, adding 10,000 steps to my daily routine was completely free. Sure, I already had a pair of the best running shoes and one of the best sports bras to keep me comfy on the move, but you can easily add more steps to your day without having to invest in fancy equipment. 

My results? All that walking did help me feel more focused and less stressed. Even on days when the weather was gross, I loved plugging into my audiobook and heading out for a walk. 10,000 steps have now become a part of my routine, and a part I love.

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy. 

  • rwza
    I read the whole article. Still not sure what you actually learned. Unless it was how to throw together random snippets in order to create affiliate links?