How Long Does It Take to Walk 10,000 Steps?
Walking is a great form of exercise, especially for beginners. Walking does not require money, special equipment, or a gym membership. When initiating a walking routine, start slowly then increase speed and intensity at an appropriate pace. It is also always a good idea to consult a physician before beginning any type of exercise program.
The time it takes to reach 10,000 steps depends on intensity of steps taken. For moderate intensity, 100 steps per minute are taken and for vigorous intensity 130 steps per minute are taken.
So, if the activity is moderate in intensity, it would take 100 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. If the activity is vigorous in intensity, it would take 77 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. To have an active lifestyle, 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day are required. To be considered as having a highly active lifestyle, 12,500 steps per day are necessary.
Walking has many health benefits. Walking can lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol, increase high density liproprotein cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, or help manage diabetes, manage weight, improve mood, stay strong and stay fit. For maximum health benefits, work up to 30 to 60 minutes of intense walking most days of the week.
Beginning a Walking Program
It is important to properly prepare for a walking program, just like any other exercise program. Even before the first step is taken, having proper foot wear is an important consideration.
Warming up is another important step, which is often over looked. Properly warming up along with stretching can help prevent injuries. Warming up includes about five minutes of walking slowly to warm up the muscles. It is also important to stretch, but only after the warm up. Stretching before warming up can lead to injuries such as pulled muscles.
When designing a walking program, total distance can be a great way to track progress. A great tool in measuring distance is a pedometer. A pedometer is a small device, which attaches on the waist, just above the hip. A pedometer counts the number of steps taken.
Public health recommendations state that for substantial health benefits, 15,000 steps per week of moderate intensity activity, and 9,750 steps per week in vigorous intensity activity are required.
- Harvard Health Publications: Walking: Your Steps to Health
- Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports: Steps to Better Cardiovascular Health: How Many Steps Does it take to Achieve Good Health and How Confident are we in This Number?
- More People Walk to Better Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 6, 2013
- Walking Take the First Step. American Heart Association. Updated May 2020
- Murtagh EM, Murphy MH, Boone-Heinonen J. Walking: the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2010;25(5):490-496. doi:10.1097/HCO.0b013e32833ce972
- Regular Walking May Protect Against Heart Failure Post Menopause. American College of Cardiology. March 01, 2018
- Omura JD, Ussery EN, Loustalot F, Fulton JE, Carlson SA. Walking as an opportunity for cardiovascular disease prevention. Prev Chronic Dis. 2019;16:E66. Published 2019 May 30. doi:10.5888/pcd16.180690
- Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(7):1334-59. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb
- Exercise for Your Bone Health. National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases. Reviewed October 2018
- Benedetti MG, Furlini G, Zati A, Letizia Mauro G. The effectiveness of physical exercise on bone density in osteoporotic patients. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:4840531. Published 2018 Dec 23. doi:10.1155/2018/4840531
- 12 Benefits of Walking. Arthritis Foundation
- Know Your Risk for Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated December 9, 2019
- Soroush A, Der Ananian C, Ainsworth BE, et al. Effects of a 6-month walking study on blood pressure and cardiorespiratory fitness in U.S. and swedish adults: ASUKI step study. Asian J Sports Med. 2013;4(2):114-124. doi:10.5812/asjsm.34492
- Mandini S, Conconi F, Mori E, Myers J, Grazzi G, Mazzoni G. Walking and hypertension: greater reductions in subjects with higher baseline systolic blood pressure following six months of guided walking. PeerJ. 2018;6:e5471. Published 2018 Aug 30. doi:10.7717/peerj.5471
- Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Fernhall B, et al. Exercise and type 2 diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(12):e147-e167. doi:10.2337/dc10-9990
- Hamasaki H. Daily physical activity and type 2 diabetes: A review. World J Diabetes. 2016;7(12):243-251. doi:10.4239/wjd.v7.i12.243
- Kleist B, Wahrburg U, Stehle P, et al. Moderate walking enhances the effects of an energy-restricted diet on fat mass loss and serum insulin in overweight and obese adults in a 12-week randomized controlled trial. J Nutr. 2017;147(10):1875-1884. doi:10.3945/jn.117.251744
- Baker EH, Milner AN, Campbell AD. A pilot study to promote walking among obese and overweight individuals: walking buses for adults. Public Health. 2015;129(6):822-824. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2015.03.021
- Wang Y, Xu D. Effects of aerobic exercise on lipids and lipoproteins. Lipids Health Dis. 2017;16(1):132. Published 2017 Jul 5. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0515-5
- Ruiz-Ramie JJ, Barber JL, Sarzynski MA. Effects of exercise on HDL functionality. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2019;30(1):16-23. doi:10.1097/MOL.0000000000000568
- Zhao W, Ukawa S, Kawamura T, et al. Health benefits of daily walking on mortality among younger-elderly men with or without major critical diseases in the new integrated suburban seniority investigation project: a prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol. 2015;25(10):609-616. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20140190
- Reimers CD, Knapp G, Reimers AK. Does physical activity increase life expectancy? A review of the literature. J Aging Res. 2012;2012:243958. doi:10.1155/2012/243958
- The Emotional Benefits of Exercise. NIH National Institute on Aging.
- Bailey DP, Locke CD. Breaking up prolonged sitting with light-intensity walking improves postprandial glycemia, but breaking up sitting with standing does not. J Sci Med Sport. 2015;18(3):294-8. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2014.03.008
- Williams PT. Greater weight loss from running than walking during a 6.2-yr prospective follow-up. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013;45(4):706-713. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827b0d0a
- Williams PT, Thompson PD. Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013;33(5):1085-91. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300878
- Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, et al. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(2):459-71. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333
- Tudor-Locke, C., Aguiar, E.J., Han, H. et al. Walking cadence (steps/min) and intensity in 21–40 year olds: CADENCE-adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 16, 8 (2019). doi:10.1186/s12966-019-0769-6
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2018
Stefania Koziol began to write in 2006 for her college nutrition newsletter. She received a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York at Cortland and became a registered dietitian in 2009.