Why 20000 Steps Daily Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution

20000 steps a day

Your height and walking speed determine the distance you cover in 20000 steps. 

Who said you have to drench yourself in sweat through intense HIIT workouts every workout to get fit? In addition to workout intensity, increasing your daily steps can significantly contribute to your health and fitness goals. Luckily, achieving more steps only requires walking. This post will cover why adding 20000 steps to your daily routine will start your 2024 fitness goals on the right track. 

Walking is one of the most effective ways to exercise. Walking elevates your heart rate and burns calories without placing stress on your joints and bones, like lifting and other activities may. In addition, it’s a great form of active recovery, meaning you’ll get the benefits of physical activity while allowing you to take rest days to recover from a weightlifting routine. 

Many experts have touted the benefits of walking 10000 steps  a day for your fitness and health (1). But what happens when you double that to reach 20,000 steps? In this article, we’ll cover how many miles are in 20,000 steps, how long it takes to walk or run 20,000, and the benefits of walking. 

Benefits of Walking 

20000 steps how many miles

Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that can benefit your overall health. Taking a few extra steps each day can bring about considerable changes in our physical and mental well-being like: 

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health: Since walking is exercise, it can improve. cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.  
  • Aid Weight Loss: Walking burns calories, and since burning more calories is critical for weight loss, it can aid in weight loss. 
  • Improve Mental Health: Beyond the physical advantages, walking can also improve mood, boost creativity, and reduce stress
  • Low Impact & Active Recovery: Whether trying to stay fit or alleviate some stress, taking walking breaks throughout the day can be a low-impact movement. It’s also great to do on your rest days from working out since it’ll give your muscles, joints, and central nervous system (CNS) a chance to recover while still providing your body with light exercise. 

How Many Miles Is 20000 Steps? 

Depending on gender, height, and speed, 20,000 steps can be anywhere from 7.6 to 21.7 miles. So, to reach a specific distance, be mindful of your walking speed and stride length. Most Americans take about 3,000 to 4,000 steps daily, approximately 1.5 to 2 miles.

Height & Speed

Your height and stride length determine the distance covered when walking 20,000 steps. For example, an individual that’s 5’9” will cover 9.1 miles in 20,000 steps, while a taller lad at 6’2” will cover more ground at 9.8 miles in the same 20,000 steps due to their longer stride length. Moreover, research shows that as we age, our stride length shortens (2). So, older individuals will cover less distance in 20,000 steps than younger individuals of the same height. 

In addition to height, how fast you walk or if you opt for running 20,00 steps will also decipher the ground you cover. For example, the same 5’9” individual from above running at a speed of 10 minutes per mile will run a total distance of 12.5 miles, while the same 6’2” gentleman from above will run 13.1 miles if he’s running at the same pace. Therefore, taller individuals have an advantage regarding the distance covered when walking or running 20,000 steps since they can cover more ground, assuming the speed is the same. 

Time to Cover 20000 Steps 

How long it takes to complete 20,000 steps involves various factors, such as height, stride length, age, weight, and speed. Individuals with shorter strides will cover fewer miles compared to taller individuals with larger strides. Knowing your stride length can provide a more precise estimate of the steps and time required to walk a mile. 

On average, a person’s stride length falls between 2.1 to 2.5 feet. With this in mind, walking a mile would take approximately 2,250 steps. By extension, considering the commonly recommended goal of taking 10,000 steps daily, it would equate to roughly 4.5 miles of walking. Similarly, achieving 20,000 steps would be equivalent to covering a distance of nine miles, assuming an average stride length.

A 2008 American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal study observed that the number of steps required to complete a mile varies based on pace and gender (3). For men measuring 5’5” tall, the range was found to be from 1,001 steps for a six-minute-mile running pace to 2,197 steps for a 20-minute-mile walking pace. For women of average height (5’4” in America), the range of steps in a mile varied from 1,082 steps for a six-minute-mile running pace to 2,315 steps for a 20-minute-mile walking pace.

Therefore, it would take approximately 3 hours for the 5’5” male in the example above to walk 20000 steps while it would take him 2 hours to run it, assuming he kept a six-minute-mile pace to cover all 20000 steps (approx. 8.6 miles for a 5’5″ individual’s stride length).

Calories Burned 

10000 steps a day

How many calories you burn when covering 20000 steps depends on whether you run or walk. Since running exerts more energy than walking, you’ll burn more calories running than walking the same number of steps. However, it’s relatively close. 

Men burn around 106 calories on average, while women burn about 90 calories for every mile they walk. (Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.53 to get a rough estimate.) Conversely, men burn approximately 150 calories per mile when running, while women burn around 128 calories. (Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.75 to get a rough estimate of the calories burned.) 

So, as you can see, although running burns slightly more calories than walking, how many steps you reach makes a far more significant difference in the calories you burn than walking versus running 20,000 steps. However, running can help you cover the same distance in a shorter time span. 

Final Word 

All in all, there’s no denying the many health benefits of walking at least 10,000 steps per day up to 20,000 steps daily. It can help improve your blood flow and energy levels, build muscle while burning calories, and provide a tremendous active form of recovery. Although running adds an extra element to that, it’s not necessary for reaching your goal — it’s entirely up to you how to get there. 

If you want to stay on track with improving your health, make sure daily walking is part of your routine. Take a stroll around the neighborhood or find nearby hiking trails — whatever path you pick, set yourself up for success in 2024 by making 20k steps each day a goal. Now is as good a time as any to get moving!

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References 

  1. Tudor-Locke, C., Craig, C.L., Brown, W.J. et al. How many steps/day are enough? for adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 8, 79 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-79
  2. DeVita P, Hortobagyi T. Age causes a redistribution of joint torques and powers during gait. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 May;88(5):1804-11. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2000.88.5.1804. PMID: 10797145.
  3. Hoeger, Werner W.K. Ed.D., FACSM; Bond, Laura M.S.; Ransdell, Lynda Ph.D., FACSM; Shimon, Jane M. Ed.D., A.T.C.; Merugu, Sunitha B.S., P.T.. ONE-MILE STEP COUNT AT WALKING AND RUNNING SPEEDS. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 12(1):p 14-19, January 2008. | DOI: 10.1249/01.FIT.0000298459.30006.8d
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.