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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Walking for Health & Benfits of 10,000 Step Per Day

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Its ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active.

Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.

Use this guide provided by NHS Choices to increase the amount of walking you do every week and to maximise the health benefits.

The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit. Think of ways to include walking into your daily routine. Examples include:

  • walking part of your journey to work
  • walking to the shops
  • using the stairs instead of the lift
  • leaving the car behind for short journeys
  • walking the kids to school
  • doing a regular walk with a friend
  • going for a stroll with family or friends after dinner

10,000 Steps per day

The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps each day, so achieving 10,000 steps a day is a challenge, and one that's sometimes very difficult to achieve.

Its important to note that Step Challenges are about increasing our levels of activity,and the benefits that come from this. If you don't make 10,000 steps each day, but you are increasing your levels of activity, then this is a very positive outcome. NHS choices recommend that we each take 150 minutes of active exercise per week, this includes brisk walking. 10,000 steps per day is very likely to ensure that you exceed this goal.

If you're not very active, increase your walking distances gradually. No one expects 10,000 steps on the first day! If you're worried about your joints or any existing health conditions, talk to your GP. If your joints are a problem, you can see if your local swimming pool holds exercise classes. The water helps to support your joints while you move, and once you lose a bit of weight, that will reduce the pressure on your joints.

A person aged 45 and weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) can burn around 400kcal (1673kJ) by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3-5mph). Its recommended that weight loss is achieved through a combination of both exercise and diet.

On the difficult days, when its raining, or cold, its helpful to understand the clear health benefits gained we gain by increasing our levels of activity. You can read more about this on The 10,000 Steps Challenge webpages.