When you buy yourself a pedometer or an activity tracker like one from Garmin, Fitbit or Jawbone, 10,000 daily steps will most likely be the default goal set to reach. Of course, you can customize the goal and lower the number down to 8,000 or 7,000 steps.

Have you ever wondered where this number comes from? 10,000 steps was part of a marketing campaign for pedometers sold in Japan in the 1960s. Since then, several medical studies have been conducted in the field and, currently, experts and medical authorities consider this as a “healthy number” which everybody should try to achieve.

Besides leading a healthier life, studies have demonstrated that there are some additional benefits for the people who have increased their steps to 10,000 steps a day. Examples of these benefits are: reduced blood pressure, lowered risk of heart diseases, prevention of waist circumference increase and weight gain, etc.

Organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) generally recommend adding about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a day for five days a week, which roughly corresponds to walking 10,000 steps. Whereas, in terms of distance, 10,000 steps are the equivalent of walking 6 to 8 kilometers (please note that the exact covered distance depends on the height of the individual and his/her corresponding step length).

It is important to note that the 10,000 step goal is not a “one size fits all” thing. Depending on our lifestyles, routines, bodies, etc. achieving 10,000 steps might represent a real challenge or an easy task. For some, who, without putting some effort into this goal, 10,000 steps might be a difficult metric to achieve on a daily basis, while for others it might represent nothing else than a routine.

The important thing to keep in mind is to put some effort toward the achievement of the goal. Besides, there are several positive reasons in trying to achieve it: it’s convenient, healthy and simple to do. What do you need more than this?