Walking 1 Million Steps on Your Pedometer

You Can Go Far in 1 Million Steps

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A million steps sounds like a lot, and you may wonder how long would it take you to walk one million steps. If you are using a pedometer or fitness tracker you would be able to log one million steps in 100 days if you walked 10,000 steps per day.

This is a goal you might want to set at the beginning of the year to motivate yourself to walk and exercise. Here are more details about this big number if you want to join the "Million Step Club."

How to Walk One Million Steps

However you choose to get there, you, too, can join the Million Step Club. It's a fun goal to set and achieve. To plan for your challenge, it can be helpful to consider how far you would travel when walking one million steps, how long it might take, and how you might measure your travels.

Duration

A typical steady walking pace is 3 miles per hour or 5 kilometers per hour.

At an average pace, you'd need to walk for 166.7 hours (almost seven full days of walking) or walk two hours a day for about 83–84 days to achieve one million steps.

Now look at that from an all-day pedometer steps point of view:

  • At 5,000 steps per day, it would take you 200 days to walk one million steps. It takes about 50 minutes to walk 5,000 steps (2.5 miles) at an average pace (approximately 3 mph).
  • At 8,000 steps per day, it would take you 125 days to walk one million steps. It takes 80 minutes to walk 8,000 steps (4 miles) at an average pace.
  • At 10,000 steps per day, it would take you 100 days to walk one million steps. It takes about 100 minutes to walk 10,000 steps (5 miles) at an average pace.
  • At 20,000 steps per day, it would take you 50 days to walk one million steps. It takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes to walk 20,000 steps (10 miles) at an average pace.

Distance

An average stride achieves about 2000 steps per mile. But if you have shorter legs, you might log 2300 steps per mile. You'll need to measure your stride to get an accurate number.

From a daily perspective, you'd walk 5.5 miles or 8.9 kilometers per day for 90 days to achieve one million steps. Or one million steps might take you:

  • 435 miles or 701 kilometers with a shorter stride
  • 500 miles or 806 kilometers with an average stride
  • 2016 times around a 400-meter running track
  • Around the Camino de Santiago from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • From Paris, France to Milan, Italy
  • From San Diego to San Francisco, California
  • From the white cliffs of Dover, England to Edinburgh, Scotland

Calories

Can you imagine the number of calories you might burn walking a million steps? The number will vary for each person. How many calories you burn walking depends on several factors including your weight and the intensity of the walk.

As a general estimate, a 150-pound person would burn about 40,000 calories (or about 11 pounds of fat) when walking one million steps.

Measurement

You may want to consider your measurement method if you consider walking a million steps. You'll need to consider the technology you use and also which steps you'll take into account when reaching your goal.

Tracking Devices

Pedometers count walking steps. Simple pedometers count your steps until you reset the number, and may only register up to 99,999 steps. You would have to keep track every time your "odometer turned" on your way to a million. You also could have real heart-ache if you accidentally hit the reset button and lost a big count.

Many fitness trackers, activity monitors, and the pedometer sensor in your mobile phone count all-day steps and automatically reset at midnight, saving the previous day in memory. Pedometers and fitness trackers such as those from Fitbit link to apps or online dashboards and sync and save your data. You can review totals for days, weeks, and months online or on an app.

Workout Steps vs. All-Day Steps

You can either wear a fitness tracker all day to count all of your activity or just wear it for dedicated walking workouts. It's a matter of personal choice as to which you track.

Studies show that there are health risks for sitting too long, and health benefits for achieving 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity per day. It's best to sit less and to get in a brisk walking workout, too.

Some pedometers track only steps, while others such as Omron HJ-321 and Fitbit also track moderate-intensity "aerobic" activity separately. Fitbit shows those as "active minutes." This helps you track whether you are achieving the recommended amount of physical activity each day.

One Million Steps Story

Linda joined in a challenge to achieve one million steps in 91 days. Starting January 1, it took Linda until April 3 to reach 1,000,000 steps registered on her pedometer. She said it wasn't easy just getting to her daily activity goal of 10,000 steps per day in the dead of winter. She did a lot of hallway walking at work and resorted to walking in a local mall a few times on the weekend.

On better days, she did brisk walking one-mile workouts on her work breaks and enjoyed a weekly Zumba class. Then on the weekends, she did longer walks including 10-kilometer volkssport walks, 9-mile training walks, and two half-marathon walks. Those boosted her step totals.

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