How long to walk every day - Standards for being healthy and losing weight

Statistics show that the average adult takes between 4,000 and 18,000 steps a day. In turn, teens take 10,000 to 16,000 steps every day until they age.

However, if you take walking more seriously, it is not the steps that should be considered, but rather the heart rate and the time spent in physical activity.

As a general objective, the WHO proposes to reach a time of between 150 and 300 minutes of walking per week. (2) This could translate to a general recommendation of 10,000 steps or 30 minutes each day.

RELATED: How Many Steps Do You Walk Each Day?

How long is walking recommended?

First, we observe that studies have observed a relationship between the number of steps taken per day and the act of counting. People who measured their amount of walking with devices (both watches and phone apps) took 2,500 more steps per day¹.

That is to say; it is pretty clear that any attempt to control a specific health parameter is beneficial in itself, without even taking into account what the final standards are. On the contrary, lack of control over activity levels is often associated with inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Another exciting thing is that in their studies, neuroscientists have determined that the higher the general physical activity level of a particular person, the better their brain responds to the urge to move. In contrast, sedentary people find it more challenging to force themselves to walk more. (3)

Little walking makes your brain sedentary.

According to the study, the brain of physically active people responds more quickly and more actively to the idea of ​​playing sports. In contrast, in sedentary people, there are reactions similar to that of people in a state of rest. Here we are not talking about the speed of the motor reaction but the neurological response of the brain. (3)

The less a person walks during the day, the harder it is for them to even think about walking. In addition, much more resources need to be invested in resisting the temptation to be sedentary.

Rates and standards of daily activity per day

The second important point when walking is the speed and frequency of the heart. The line between normal and athletic walking is often on the border of 100-120 heart rate beats per minute. This depends on whether you walk at a very leisurely pace or a reasonably fast pace.

The WHO recommendations for physical activity are 75 minutes of cardio per week (heart rate of at least 120 beats) or 150 – 300 minutes of more everyday activity (for example, walking at an average pace). As for the number of times per week, the standard is at least 2-3 workouts per week. (2)

The WHO notes that the rule could be simplified even more when the figure of 10,000 steps per day appears. However, this is to get a general idea of ​​how much walking is good. The ideal is also to adapt the average walking speed depending on the person’s age and not exclude the fact that the initial recommendation is 75 minutes of cardio per week.

Physical activity standards for how much you walk per day:

  • less than 5,000 steps per day – sedentary lifestyle
  • 5000-7500 steps: low level of daily activity
  • 7500-10000 steps – average activity level
  • 10,000-12,500 steps – active lifestyle
  • more than 12,500 steps – an extremely active lifestyle

How much do you need to walk every day to lose weight?

Unfortunately, people who want to lose weight often underestimate the caloric intake of what they eat while overestimating the energy expenditure of sports (for example, walking). It is much easier to control the calories entering your mouth than expend them with exercise.

For example, an hour of walking at an average pace burns around 250-300 kcal. The exact amount of calories is found in just 60g of French fries, 100g of pizza, or 125g of ice cream. Limiting this amount of food per day is more accessible than walking for an hour.

On the other hand, successful weight loss requires a deficit of 300 kcal above. According to a study based on 143 men and women, restricting the diet to such a small number provided a loss of 8 kg of excess weight during two years of observation.


According to the WHO recommendations, the minimum level of physical activity should be 75 minutes of training per week; In simplified form, this recommendation can be thought of as 10,000 steps or 30 minutes of walking per day.

The amount of time you walk will also depend on your walking speed and heart rate. If you can’t set aside that long, try several short activity sessions throughout the day. Any amount of activity is better than nothing. 

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