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How to measure your steps if you don’t have a pedometer or fitness tracker

Sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity is one of the top factors (along with smoking, high alcohol consumption, and obesity) that strongly reduces life expectancy and health-related quality of life.

This is why we put a strong focus on walking more in our 21-Day Movement Challenge – along with a bunch of other cool habits like how to improve your posture, finding opportunities for movement that are fun, building the habit of exercising, and ways to improve your energy so that it’s easier to move more throughout the day.

📏 How to Measure Your Steps If You Don’t Have a Pedometer or Fitness Tracker:

If you have a handy fitness tracker or smartwatch from the likes Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Apple, Samsung, etc, then you are in luck.

We are sure you agree that these are awesome tools to help you be more mindful of how much you walk on a daily basis and that they help to “gamify” such a healthy habit so that it is more fun and interesting.

However, many people ask us “What should they do if they do not have a fitness tracker (or a smartphone with a built-in pedometer)?

Well, the average person walking at a brisk and determined pace can expect to walk these number of steps in the table below based on distance and time walked:

StepsDistance WalkedTime Spent Walking
1,0000.8km10 minutes
2,0001.6km20 minutes
3,0002.4km30 minutes
4,0003.2km40 minutes
5,0004km50 minutes
6,0004.8km1 hour
7,0005.6km1 hour 10 minutes
8,0006.4km1 hour 20 minutes
9,0007.2km1 hour 30 minutes
10,0008km1 hour 40 minutes

If you want to save/print a copy of this table for quick reference, you can download this image here.

Other Options:

Other options, of course, are:


  • Most newer smartphones have their own built-in pedometers. If you aren’t sure, just search on Google for your phone make/model + the words “built-in pedometer”.


  • If you are a regular gym-goer and plan to get most of your steps in on the treadmill, then most treadmills will track your steps.
  • This is not ideal because we would obviously like you to be out and about, getting in more movement throughout the day – but it’s better than nothing!

🏃‍♀️ How Much Should You Walk?

Walking is just one of the many ways that you can improve your level of physical activity, so it will depend a lot on how active you are in other ways throughout the day. However, we know research for public health has established that:

  • Those who take 5,000 steps a day or less are considered sedentary and at a higher risk for obesity, disease, and early death.
  • Those who take 10,000 steps a day or more are considered active and typically have less body fat and better overall health.

For some people, 10,000 steps might seem ridiculously easy (especially if you have an active job) but for most people, it’s rather high at the beginning (and for some, it’s just about impossible).

Even us at Sleekgeek spend most of our time working from home behind our computers or on our phones… If we didn’t push ourselves to deliberately get out and walk more, we would likely only get 2,000 – 3,000 steps a day on average. So we understand, it’s challenging! (But still do-able with some effort.)

In the Sleekgeek 21-Day Movement Challenge, we recommend the following categories:

  • 4,000 steps a day (beginner – someone who lives a VERY sedentary lifestyle).
  • 6,000 steps a day (intermediate – someone who lives a moderately sedentary lifestyle).
  • 8,000 steps a day (advanced – someone who lives a moderately active lifestyle).
  • 10,000+ steps a day (elite – someone who lives a very active lifestyle).

Most people don’t move enough throughout the day, so we like to challenge them to push sliiiiightly outside of their comfort zone ad aim for 1,000-1,500 steps higher than their normal average step count.

🤔 How To Do It?

Walking 6,000 steps, for example, is roughly an hour of walking per day.

When we first learned this ourselves, our first thought was “Where the heck do we find another hour in our day to walk?!”

Then we took off our “excuses hat” and put on our “solutions hat” (or in this case put on our “Stronger Than Yesterday” t-shirt) and came up with a plan.

We realised that 1 hour of walking could be:

  • 2 x 30-minute walks
  • 3 x 20-minute walks
  • 4 x 15-minute walks
  • Or even 6 x 10-minute walks.

When we broke it down like that, it became much more do-able.

We could easily afford to take 4 x 15-minute walks during the day instead of sitting around during my breaks and scrolling social media or talking to people.

Even though adding a few short walks into your day may not seem like a life-changing transformation, doing that daily for weeks, months, and even years will add up to massive results in the long run and leave you stronger, fitter, leaner, and healthier than yesterday.

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