Walking Off The Pounds: Did it Just Get Harder?

By J. M. Graham ("Crabby McSlacker")

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It’s a great way to shed weight or at least keep from gaining additional pounds–buy a pedometer and track your daily steps. The target number you hear most often is a daunting 10,000 steps a day. Ten thousand steps is almost five miles. That’s pretty challenging if you have a hectic schedule, but it’s worth it, right?

Well, unfortunately, a recent pedometer study says it may take just a bit more than that.
The study (summarized here ) was a collaborative effort involving 14 researchers from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, and Sweden. The researchers investigated how many steps per day people should accumulate for weight control. They looked at “cut-off points” between normal weight and overweight/obese individuals, based on BMI.

New Targets:
The bad news? For men, and for most women, 10,000 steps a day just wasn’t enough.

The less-bad news? It wasn’t too much more. Here are the targets:

For women, by age:
18-40: 12,000 steps per day.
40-50: 11,000
50-60: 10,000
60 plus: 8,000

18-50: 12,000
50 plus: 11,000

The same research team already recommended that girls aged 6-12 get 12,000 steps, and boys 15,000 steps every day.

What Does it Mean For You?
Everyone is different, and frankly, I’m not sure it makes sense to treat any general target as gospel and focus all one’s energy on it. Ten thousand steps seems to be more than enough to keep a lot of folks at a healthy weight. Others aren’t as fortunate and may need more than that. Plus, there are other important aspects to a fitness program to take into an account, like strength training, interval training, balance, and flexibility. (And that’s assuming the walking is brisk and aerobic–if not, that’s yet another thing to think about).

So can most of you folks find the time to rack up almost six miles a day? Do you think you’re exercising that much? Some of us are, but it sounds like a tough target for a lot of people to meet.


  1. Mike

    I was walking up to three hours a day (20,000 steps +) and not losing any weight.

    I started running 30-45 min 5 times a week and the pounds feel off. I think the problem is that doing 10000 steps a day for the WHOLE day is not exercise…it’s just, living. If I get up and walk to the bath room and get 500 steps, it’s not exercise lol.