What's Typical for Average Daily Steps?

Commuters rushing
Stuart Dee/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

How many steps per day does the average adult take? Studies found that the average American adult only makes it about halfway to a goal of 10,000 steps per day, although those who wear an activity monitor pedometer seem to log more steps per day.

A study published in 2010 of over 1000 Americans found an average of 5117 steps overall, with men only slightly ahead of women at 5340 steps compared with 4912 steps.

The United States data was collected from people who wore a pedometer for two days during normal activity in 2003. The researchers compared with studies in other countries:

  • United States: 5117 steps
  • Switzerland: 9,650 steps
  • Japan: 7,168 steps
  • Western Australia: 9,695 steps. A wider survey in Australia found an average of 7,400 steps (Australian Health Survey 2011-12)

At 5000 steps, the average American walks about 2.5 miles or about four kilometers each day: Pedometer Steps per Mile

Pedometer researcher Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke published a study in 2004, showing a wide variation in the 200 men and women who participated.

  • Men: 7192 steps per day.
  • Women: 5210 steps per day.
  • Study participants with larger body mass indexes (a measure of overweight and obesity) took fewer steps per day on average.
  • People walked more on workdays, weekdays, and days they participated in sports or exercise.

Activity Monitor Steps Per Day Data

With the debut of activity monitors and accelerometer chips in mobile phones, pedometer and app companies receive continuous data from their users on total daily steps.

This data may be skewed in that people who wear pedometers or activity bands are motivated to take more steps per day and reach targets. They may not wear the pedometer or carry the phone continuously throughout the day.

Withings released data from a panel of its pedometer users in 2015 that showed these averages:

  • United States: 5815 steps
  • France: 6330 steps
  • Germany 6337
  • United Kingdom: 6322

Fitbit released data on the average steps per day for each US state, based on over one million users, comparing summer to winter 2012-2014. Overall, Fitbit wearers walked 7000 steps per day in winter and 1000 more steps per day in summer, around an average of 8000 steps. More: Fitbit Winter Steps vs. Summer Steps by State

How Many Steps Per Day are Enough?

Dr. Tudor-Locke previously weighed in on how many steps per day were enough to prevent weight gain and to get the health benefits of walking. In general, a person should add 2000-3000 more steps to their day than they get from their general activities.

Sources:

Le Masurier GC, Lee SM, Tudor-Locke C., "Motion sensor accuracy under controlled and free-living conditions." Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 May;36(5):905-10.

Tudor-Locke, Catrine, Bassett, David R Jr. "How Many Steps/Day Are Enough?: Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health" Sports Medicine. 34(1):1-8, 2004.

DAVID R. BASSETT JR., HOLLY R. WYATT, HELEN THOMPSON, JOHN C. PETERS3, and JAMES O. HILL. "Pedometer-Measured Physical Activity and Health Behaviors in U.S. Adults." Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 42, No. 10, pp. 1819–1825, 2010

"Which is the most active country on weekdays, hour by hour? (FR, DE, UK, US)" Withings, 09/05/14, accessed 11/5/15.

"Weathering the Weather: Fitbit Weathermap 2012-2014" Fitbit. Accessed 11/5/15

Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity 2011-12. Australian Bureau of Statistics 7/19/2013, accessed 11/5/15

Continue Reading