Is 12,000 Steps a Day Good for Your Health?

Walking is an easy way to increase physical activity and can be done anywhere. Taking 12,000 steps is equivalent to 6 miles. If you weigh 125 pounds and walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour, you will burn 408 calories. If you run at a pace of 5 miles per hour, you will burn 576 calories.

For someone who weighs 185 pounds, walking will burn 600 calories and running will burn 852 calories. Tudor-Locke suggests that 10,000 steps a day is a good starting point. To achieve healthy and sustainable results, you should aim to lose no more than 1-2 pounds per week. Walking 10,000 steps a day for a week can burn enough calories to melt away one pound of fat.

Other studies have looked into the benefits of taking more steps, but it is impossible to say if the same results would occur with fewer or more steps. To meet these goals, you would need to increase your number of steps by 3,000-6,000 steps, bringing the total up to 15,000 steps per day. A study found that over a five-year period, participants who had higher step counts at the end of the study had lower body mass indices, lower waist-hip ratios, and better insulin sensitivity than at the beginning (participants had greater improvements by increasing 1000 daily steps). This is one of the few studies that has compared the results of lower step counts versus higher step counts and found greater benefits from walking more.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association involving 4,840 people found that those who walked more than 12,000 steps a day had a much slower mortality rate than those who walked fewer than 4,000 steps. One study showed that participants who reached 7500 steps or more were less likely to report poor sleep, while those who reached 5000 steps or less were more likely to report poor sleep. The recommended number of pedometer steps per day for boys 6-12 years old is 12,000 for girls and 15,000 for boys. It is important to note that if a study only looks at the benefits of 10,000 steps and does not compare them to other step counts, it cannot conclude how much better 10,000 steps are for a specific health outcome.

While you may want to take 12,000 steps a day, you should also meet daily activity recommendations set by the Center for Disease Control and Protection.