You might already be a regular counter or even have an app on your smartphone which records every step you take. If you’re currently not monitoring this though, it’s worth considering exactly how many steps medical professionals recommend we take each day to help support our bodies’ physical health.
Why is it important to reach your recommended daily step count?Moving our bodies regularly has innumerable benefits, from improving our circulation and heart health through to supporting weight loss and lowering the risk of certain chronic diseases1.
Measuring your activity levels by steps is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough physical exercise each and every day. As well as general walking, other things such as aerobic workouts, running or yoga all count towards your daily step count. Have an active job where you’re on your feet most of the day? That counts, too.You may have been told that 10,000 steps a day is ideal. While that’s a good amount to aim for, more or less steps might be a better fit for you depending on certain factors such as your age, health or physical ability2.
A guide to recommended steps per day by ageWondering exactly how many steps you should be taking per day for your age? Here’s a basic guide to daily step counts by age3:
Recommended daily step counts for under 18sAs a general rule, the younger you are the more steps you tend to need to do. Once kids have learnt to walk properly and their bones have fully developed, they’ll want to aim for a minimum of 6,000 steps a day. This should be closer to double if your kids regularly play sports, run around the playground or are just generally very active4.
Recommended daily steps for adults
As soon as you reach adulthood, your daily step count will likely lower naturally as you enter the workforce or become a student. 10,000 steps is still a good figure to aim for, however, if your step count is closer to 7,000, that’s okay, too. Regularly hit the gym or trying to lose some weight? Your step count should be 12,000+.
Recommended daily steps for adults over 65
As you get older, your bones become more fragile and your fitness tends to decline. This doesn’t mean you can get away with doing no exercise, though! Reaching your daily step count is still important and you’ll need to aim for somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 steps depending on your activity levels and general health.
Great ways to increase your step countIf you work in an office or spend most of your day sitting down indoors, don’t despair. There are various things you can do to get your step numbers up. These include5:
- Going for a walk every day – fitting in a daily walk is a great way to boost your step count. During the week, try to spend half of your lunch hour outdoors strolling in the fresh air.
- Using a standing desk – those of you who work in an office might struggle to fit in your daily step count, especially if you commute by car. Having a standing desk is a great way to keep your muscles active, plus you can walk on the spot as you work to get your steps up.
- Taking the stairs – whether you work in a high-rise building or you’re simply popping to the shops, taking the stairs instead of a lift or an escalator is a great way to up your daily steps.
- Pacing when you’re on the phone – if you have to take phone calls for work or you simply love to natter with your friends and family, try standing up and pacing the room as you chat.
- Parking further away – whether you’ve driven to the shops or to work, try parking your car slightly further away each day so you have to walk for a little bit longer to reach your destination. If you want to go one up, consider walking all the way from your house if you live nearby
Last updated: 25 April 2020