How Many Steps Should I do in a day?

This is a question we get often asked in clinic yet it has been hard to give an accurate answer based on sound science.  It’s a bit like having 5 portions of fruit and veg a day – why 5 and not 6 or 4? I did hear recently that this 5-a-day recommendation could have been put in place in part to support our farming community as well as the evidence from Mediterranean diet studies.

For years the accepted recommended number of steps per day has been 10,000. The Japanese came up with the idea of this number in the run up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics!  The recommendation of 10,000 steps a day was introduced as a means to combat lifestyle-related diseases to get the population to become healthier.  Recent studies indicate that while this showed benefits, its long-term impact was less understood, and now new research challenges this number suggesting that the ideal step count could vary depending on factors such as your age and an individuals general health status.

What is the new Research for the Best Step Count per day?

Researchers analysed 17 studies, with over 226,000 participants across various countries. They looked at the relationship between step count and cardiovascular mortality e.g. death from stroke or heart attack. The results offer finer insights into the best step count for different age groups.

The Ideal Step Count is age Dependant

‘Too much’,  ‘too little’, ‘just right’.

  • For those under 60 years of age the optimal range was 7,000 to 13,000 steps, resulting in a massive 49% reduction in risk. So for the under 60’s aim for 13,000 steps per day, with a minimum of 7,000 steps
  • For the over 60’s the optimal range was 6,000 to 10,000steps, with a huge 42% decrease in risk. So for the over 60’s aim for 10,000 steps daily, with a minimum of 6,000 steps
  • You get more benefit if you do more steps!
    • For each additional 1,000 steps taken, the risk of all-cause mortality drops by 15%
    • Every additional 500 steps reduces cardiovascular mortality by another 7%
  • No significant observable health benefit occurs from exceeding 20,000 steps a day.

Don’t forget other factors that affect your health such as alcohol consumption, smoking, diet, and sleep to name just a few!


Banach et al., “The Association Between Daily Step Count and All-cause and Cardiovascular Mortality: A Meta-analysis,” European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, 2023

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About The Author

Derby Chiropractor Ian Reed and co-founder of WellBeing Clinics Derby. Ian was the first person to graduate from the AECC University College with degree class ‘distinction’ and win the prize for ‘best academic student’. Ian has over 30 years of experience diagnosing and treating all manner of aches and pains literally from head to toe. He specialises in helping patients with long term complex pain problems (often where other treatments have failed to help) as well as new acute problems.

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