Health and Fitness

How Many Steps Should You Walk in a Day to Be Healthy?

Get off your chair!

To prevent heart disease, health experts recommend not sitting. They're even more emphatic about walking: Don't simply not sit, get out there and use your legs. Fitness tracker companies jumped on that, making 10,000 steps a day the industry standard for healthy living. But 10,000 steps is more of a guideline. The rule is that there is no rule—not yet, at least.


According to The New York Times, though, new research gives a more ambitious goal: 15,000 steps a day to avoid the risk of heart disease. The research was based off a middle-aged postal service workers in Scotland, some mail carriers who spent their days walking and other office workers, who spent their days sitting. The sitters were more likely to exhibit unhealthy factors, putting them at risk for cardiac disease. But walking any amount lessened the risk, putting the mail carriers at an advantage. Mail carriers who walked more than three hours a day had no heightened risk for heart disease at all—their BMIs, metabolisms, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels were normal.

So, according to this (small, limited) study, 15,000 steps keeps people healthy. For those curious, 15,000 steps is equivalent to about seven miles of walking. Easy. People can get 15,000 steps a day "by walking briskly for two hours at about a four-mile-per-hour pace," lead researcher Dr. William Tigbe told The Times. (An average walking pace is three miles per hour.) Another totally realistic suggestion was "a 30-minute walk before work, another at lunch, and multiple 10-minute bouts throughout the day."


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In fact, seven miles is really nothing. It's the distance from the northernmost border of Central Park to the southernmost tip of Manhattan. It's the equivalent of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge four times. It is 28 times around a track, and 102 times up and down a soccer field. It will get you a fifth of the way across the Oklahoma Panhandle and .00003 of the way to the Moon. It will take two, maybe three, even four hours from your day. But hey, maybe you'll make up the time when you're not dying from heart disease.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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