Taking steps to a better way of living

The Daily Telegraph

Monday 22 July 2002

When it comes to walking, the magic number is 10,000: steps, that is.
Walk that many each day, experts say, and you'll get fit.

The idea has been around since the 1950s, says Prevention magazine walking editor Maggie Spilner.
Let's see ... 20 steps from bedroom to kitchen. Only 9980 to go. There are 1000 around the block, plus an extra 100 crossing the street to say a quick hello to the neighbour. Plus 2000 shopping. That brings our step count up to 3120. Hmmm.

You're going well, that figure compares to the 2000 steps a day taken by the average sedentary person, according to Spilner.

In case you lose count, Spilner suggests investing in a pedometer.

You can find them at sporting and discount stores, or through catalogues and websites. They range from the simple step counters to more elaborate units with heart monitors and calorie counters.

“The benefit of counting steps rather than kilometres is that the increment is so small,” she says.
“People can stay motivated all day long by checking their pedometer. Walking in the car park, taking the stairs -- all these lifestyle steps count.”

After you wear the pedometer for a week or so, bump up your steps by 20 per cent each week, she says. If you want to lose weight as well as stay fit, you'll probably need to walk up to 20,000 steps.


  • By walking 10,000, you've covered approximately 6.4km.

  • Instead of using email, walk over to a colleague's desk.

  • Walk to the counter of a fastfood restaurant instead of using the drivethrough.

  • While talking on your mobile phone, walk around the house.

  • Get carried away with housework. Vacuum more than usual. Pick up items you may otherwise leave in the wrong place and carry them to the right room.

  • When it's time for your children to come home from playing down the street, go and get them instead of yelling at them to come for tea.

  • Take the stairs.

  • Walk around the supermarket or shopping centre one more time.

  • Walk to the corner and back after dinner.

  • Don't circle the carpark looking for the spot closest to the shopping centre's front door. Take a space farther away than usual.

  • Volunteer to fetch snacks at the football or to take the children to the toilets.

  • Walk around the block during lunch or your coffee break.