The 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge

RACHEL GRICE  UPDATED ON APRIL 16, 2019

Getting in shape and staying healthy don’t have to involve hours in the gym. In fact, just as important as what you do during your workout is what you do the other 23 hours of the day.

(Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk all day or need some motivation to get more active, why not join the LIVESTRONG.COM team for the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge? We’re kicking things off May 1, 2019, and going through the whole month.

Why 10,000 Steps a Day?

There’s nothing inherently magical about the number 10,000 in and of itself; it’s more about what it represents. Namely, getting out of your seat and walking around.

Originally, though, the number 10,000 came from a Japanese pedometer first marketed in the 1960s, according to UC Davis Integrative Medicine. The devices were called “manpo-kei,” which translates to 10,000-step meter.

But since that time, science has confirmed some benefits of walking more throughout the day. A 2000 study from the journal Hypertension Researchshowed that people who took 10,000 steps a day had lower blood pressure. And a 2003 study published in Preventative Medicine found that it improved glucose tolerance.

On the other hand, a study from a 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who only walked 5,000 steps were more likely to have poor cardiometabolic health, which can heighten the risk of diabetes, heart disease and/or stroke.

And a 2017 study from the International Journal of Obesity found a link between more time spent sedentary and larger waist circumferences and increased risk for coronary heart disease.