Daily steps and health in adults: Should we walk 10, 000 steps per day for optimal well-being?

Shang Ti Chen, Li Jung Chen, Po Wen Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Walking is an essential activity for everyday life. Walking 10, 000 steps per day is a frequently promoted goal for health promotion. However, this widely accepted slogan has been criticized as unrealistic. Additionally, public health professionals have not reached agreement on the effect of this goal on health outcomes in adults. The following procedures were implemented to review the evidence for the relationship between number of daily steps and health outcomes. First, the country profiles of the daily steps of adults were described. Second, guidelines for the number of daily steps issued by government authorities in various countries were reviewed. Third, evidence obtained through systematic reviews and meta-analyses was examined to explore relationships between the number of daily steps and health outcomes. Finally, research topics regarding the association between number of daily steps and health outcomes were discussed. In summary, evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses, which were mainly based on cross-sectional studies, revealed health benefits are likely to be gained by fewer than 10, 000 steps per day in adults. Recent prospective cohort studies have indicated that as few as approximately 4, 000-5, 000 steps per day are significantly related to health benefits when compared with inactive individuals (i.e., 2, 000-3, 000 steps per day); The benefits progressively increased for those who took at least 7, 000-8, 000 steps per day. Overall, the current study suggested that people could reap health benefits even when taking fewer than 10, 000 steps per day. Individuals who are inactive should be encouraged to progressively increase their daily steps in order to reach the goal of at least 7, 000-8, 000 steps per day. Because robust evidence relating daily steps and health outcomes is lacking, large-scale prospective studies based on representative samples with broader age groups and meta-regression analyses are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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