Many health professionals maintain that taking 10,000 steps per day can aid in weight loss and improve your overall health. Moving 10k steps daily burns between 2,000 and 3,500 calories per week. We know that one pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about a pound per week by increasing your daily average to 10k strides.  

While the impact that 10k steps can have on your weight loss journey is significant, there are many other benefits that you may not have heard about. Harvard School of Public Health found that 30 minutes of walking each day, which can get you closer to your 10k daily goal, can cut stroke risk by a minimum of 20%.

For the average person, 10k steps is equivalent to walking roughly 5 miles, depending on your height and length of stride. For someone who is mostly sedentary throughout the day and clocks an average of 2,000 – 5,000 steps, that goal can seem lofty. It's important to understand your tolerance -- start small and work your way up. 

If you're looking to take the next step toward your fitness goals or just improve your overall health, here are 10 not-so-obvious benefits of 10k daily steps:

1. Slowing mental decline

  • Physical activity is important to keep blood flowing to your brain.  It can reduce the risk of damage and deterioration, especially as you age.

2. Lowers blood pressure

  • Getting in your daily steps can help reduce stiffness of the blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow more freely.

3. Improves sleep

  • In general, exercise helps to improve sleep, which carries many health benefits.  Regular workouts reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, increase your sleep quality, and boost the amount of time spent in REM cycles throughout the night.

4. Relieves depression

  • When you’re active, your body releases key neurotransmitters like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.  Each play an important role in regulating your mood, and have a positive impact on your brain.

5. Improves blood circulation

  • Exercise aids in circulation. It increases blood flow, gets your heart pumping blood around the body more quickly, and helps to flush the blood through your arteries.

6. Stabilizes blood sugar

  • When you’re active, your muscles use more of the glucose in your bloodstream, which helps stabilize your blood sugar. Activity also helps the insulin in your body to work more efficiently.

7. Improves concentration

  • Physical activity boosts the feel-good hormones (endorphins) as well as increases blood flow to the brain, resulting in improved cognitive function.

8. Strengthens your bones

  • Working out places extra stress on your bones, which can help improve their density and lower your risk for osteoporosis later in life. Walking is a great place to start.  

9. Improves flexibility

  • Regular exercise helps to loosen up muscles and improve flexibility. This has the added bonus of improving your posture, reducing risk of injury, and decreasing aches and pains throughout the day.

10. Reduces your risk of heart disease

  • Regular physical activity helps to increase the amount of oxygenated blood being sent to your muscles, particularly the heart.  This strengthens the muscle and reduces risk of disease.