10K Steps a Day?

Regulars know about my long-standing penchant for running. When I worked, weather and other commitments often got in the way. Retiring made running 3- to 6- miles a day much easier to fit into my schedule. Missing a day is rare. Missing two days in a row almost never happens.

My goal is an “active” lifestyle. After running even three miles, I’m good for the day. Or so I thought assumed. Turns out, a mile (5280 feet) is roughly 2000 steps. Doh! Anything less than 5 miles falls short.


  • Very Active — more than 12,000 steps a day
  • Active –10,000 to 11,999 steps a day
  • Somewhat Active — 7,500 to 9,999 steps a day
  • Low Active — 5,000 to 7,499 Steps a day
  • Sedentary — less than 5,000 steps a day (SOURCE: 10000steps.org.au)

I set out for a run planning to go at least three miles with the option of going farther. A five-mile minimum sucks the joy from my daily run. Instead of over-achieving, I’m not even keeping up. I decided to dig a little deeper.

The ranges (above) are for walking — apparently with crutches or a walker. Moving faster helps. One study found the health benefits were about the same for individuals who walked 3000 steps/day at a brisk pace. Sounds too good to be true if you ask me. Twice that — 6000 steps — seems more realistic.

What will I do differently? Nothing. Pushing too hard leads to injuries. Stressing out about falling short is equally counterproductive. Running makes me feel good — regardless of the distance.

The recommendation to walk 10,000 steps a day is less than helpful. Kudos to those who hit that goal. Keep up the good work! For everyone else, don’t let the 10K/day thing discourage you or keep you from even trying. Do what you can. The more you do, the more you’ll be able to do.