How 10,000 Steps A Day Really Impacts Your Health

Walking 10,000 steps a day is a popular fitness goal, but it may not be necessary. While regular physical activity can certainly improve your overall health and reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes, the 10,000 steps goal is an arbitrary number that stems from a marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer (via The Conversation).

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that it's absolutely necessary to hit 10,000 steps a day in order to improve your health and lower your risk of death. In fact, research has shown that there are no additional benefits to walking more than 7,500 steps per day. Studies have also found that walking at least 5,000 steps every day is enough to burn fat and potentially help you lose weight.

Regardless of how many steps you take, however, it's important to establish a daily routine. "Setting a challenging goal that is attainable is key," Reid Eichelberger, the head trainer at EverybodyFights Philadelphia, told Shape. "Whether that is a 10-minute walk a day, 5,000 steps, or 20,000 steps, committing to making a daily habit is important."

How to get your steps in every day

Setting your daily goal is the easy part, however. Actually getting in 7,500 or 5,000 steps per day may prove difficult, especially if you have a desk job or work in an office setting (via Cleveland Clinic). That's why it's important to get your steps in whenever you can. One way to increase your daily step count is to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Depending on how many flights of stairs there are, walking up the stairs can significantly contribute to your daily step count and help you get in some cardio exercise.

You can also reach your step goal by taking a walk during your lunch break. The World Health Organization recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, and walking just 10 minutes a day during lunch can help you reach more than half of this weekly goal (via The Conversation). In addition, parking your car farther away from the front door of your office building or workplace can help you get in some of your steps before you even start your work day.