Should 15,000 Steps a Day Be Our New Exercise Target

picture of two fitbit devices for your wrist

New research suggests that 15,000 steps a day should be our target, instead of the commonly recommended 10,000 steps a day.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in England and other institutions published their findings March 7 in The International Journal of Obesity. They examined 111 postal workers in Glasgow, Scotland, between the ages of 40 and 60, who either mainly walked or mainly sat during the day.

Researchers measured the volunteers’ body mass indexes, waist sizes, blood sugar levels and cholesterol profiles, which can indicate an increase in the chances of heart disease if the levels are above normal. The volunteers wore trackers while at work and at home so researchers could see how long each day the volunteers sat and how long they were standing or active.

The findings showed that the volunteers who sat most of day had higher body mass indexes, larger waistlines, worse cholesterol profiles when compared to the volunteers who were on their feet most of the day. The volunteers who were active typically walked for more than three hours a day and tracked at least 15,000 steps.

“Our metabolism is not well-suited to sitting down all the time,” said Dr. William Tigbe, lead author of the study. Tigbe said that getting 15,000 steps a day can be done by walking quickly for two hours during the day.
Written by: Katherine Heighway | Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Carlson, M.D.