Daily steps - how many do you do?

I had knee surgery in October 2023 (new ACL) and have been monitoring my daily steps closely. From 6.000 in December, I’m now on a monthly average of 11.000 steps. This is an average as starting to jog did impair my daily walks a bit. But I’m aiming for a daily 15k steps for the rest of 2024. It does take quite a bit of time though (which I find at 05:00 in the morning and late at night :smiley: )


I don’t think sweating is relevant here. There are so many factors as to whether someone sweats or not. A key measure is heart rate variability, which is why so many trainer’s recommend high intensity training as a regime.

I try to break 80% of my maximum HR every day. As a guide, MHR is measured at 220 minus your age. I’m 59, so my MHR is 161, so I try and exercise so that my HR gets to above 130 (80% of MHR).


12,000 average with about 25mins of elevated heart rate.

But how much it’s spread out is critical too. If I go on a long walk and get 12,000 steps in but spend my working hours strapped to my desk, I don’t feel as good as of I do half as many steps but get at least 250 steps in per hour during the working day to keep the blood flowing.


I used to do this. As you get fitter, you need to work harder to reach your target heart rate.

If I remember correctly, it was recommended to maintain target heart rate for six minutes.


My Fitbit gives me warning if I haven’t managed 250 steps an hour.

Put bluntly, sweating is obviously not the measure but if you are sweating then some broad fitness and weight loss will follow. I never really unwrap when it’s warm for 2 reasons. Firstly, having 3 thin layers doesn’t of itself mean you sweat in hot weather but, for me, it does as soon as I exceed 4.1mph and it’s that which is the key. Secondly, my albinism gives me 2 choices. Slather myself in high factor sun screen even on cloudy days, or, cover up. Former is expensive and time-consuming. Latter always works and adds weight loss and maintenance of that.

The 4.1mph is obviously specific to me after measuring what happened at my normal walking speed of around 3.4 to 3.8. However, most walkers I’ve spoken to who measure agree that there is a point at which each of us, without ever breaking into a run, tip over into weight loss just through a bit of distance aided by briskness. Obviously 4.8 is very brisk. Steps in themselves though are fairly meaningless. A walker on my route does about 20,000 every day but at a sluggish pace. They remain stubbornly at 18 stone.

Your alternative here is shorter more intense exercise. It’s a great theory and constantly gets recommended for older people. The realities of that are rather more brutal. You can either manage and sustain that or not. There is growing evidence that, unless done in a controlled environment under supervision, injury is likely in around 30% of participants. It’s a judgement call but a great way to discover injuries you didn’t know you had. When it works it’s fantastic and takes much less of your day but…

My experience was that a fast mile was always a better use of my time but that’s off the table for me now as my spine degenerates. The days of running sub 4 in my early 50s are long gone sadly.

One final observation. Dog walking is wonderful but it’s not meaningful exercise unless you’re running with the dog. Most dog walkers get lots of fresh air; some bending down and endless stops whilst your dog “explores”. It’s great amd feels great but in terms of objective change it will positively impact only a small cohort of the unfit.

Fitrest person on my route is not me. Woman in her late 30s who runs my 4 mile route with a twin push chair with her twins in it.

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Sorry should also hsve added that ideally I’d monitor my heart rate en route but speed has the largest digits on my phone screen and thus is the essiest for me to see ehilst moving.

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I used to use an erg, rowing machine, and was religious about heart rate zones. A couple of things I learnt: set your objective and find the appropriate heart rate zone; then you need to find the appropriate max heart rate for your activity, which varies considerably, not just in terms of activity but one’s physiology; and the type of monitor is important, a chest strap is more reliable than a watch type of monitor.

As I got older, I shifted from fitness HR zones to weight management zones; now the brisk walking zone is below the WM zone. I must get back into using HR monitors.


Just to clarify heart rate variability is not about varying your heart rate in the short term, I.e by exercise. It is the variability of time between one beat and the next. Counterintuitively a higher rate of variability is good and less is bad.

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Interesting how step count has morphed into exercise habits…

I’ve never exercised to lose weight, only to keep moderately fit and healthy. I haven’t set foot in s gym since leaving school over 50 years ago: as a place of physical and mental torture/abuse I was conditioned to never even consider going near out of my own volition. I never run (or rather only in exceptional circumstances such as about to miss a bus of train, and that sustained for only a few tend of yards/metres. My main regular exercise is cycling, second is walking. (Except when alongside my wife sightseeing or shopping in a city I only ever walk by striding briskly.) If staying somewhere like a hotel, and I normally use the stairs not lift unless 10s of floors especially when on holiday constrained for some reason from walking much or cycling. When on escalators I always walk up/down not stand still. No idea about my heartbeat doing any of that - hasn’t occurred to me, and anyway it is hard to take one’s pulse when cycling up a hill! I do periodically check my blood pressure at home, the monitor also giving my heart rate, and so know my resting pulse rate range (50-58).

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IB, you brought back terrible memories of gym in school. We had a Welsh gym teacher with a cauliflower nose and a glass eye which didn’t exactly inspire confidence although since he was previously a drill sergeant in the army he did demand a lot of respect!

Loved the gym 3x pw. Less love for the many idiots who populate gyms and those gyms who think TV or music is an essential part of the experience.

Had I not gone to the gym I’d never have met the bloke who showed me that my average middle distance runner was hiding a great sprint and mile runner. Really miss that.


Latest figures …


Agree with all of that but you gotta love “… avoid walking on sidewalks with uneven or broken pavement.”. Even 8 years ago when that was written I’d argue that was impossible.



I have a Jack Russell that needs a good walk every day so that he doesn’t destroy everything when he gets a bit bored.

The last year I have averaged about 14779 steps per day.


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