Using Step Counts to Prescribe Physical Activity: What Is the Optimal Dose?

Benjamin D. Washburn, Joseph M. Ihm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


An activity goal of 10,000 steps per day is widely known but was not initially developed based on scientific evidence. The last several years have seen an increase in both the availability of consumer-based step counting devices and research examining the link between daily step counts and various health outcomes. Daily step counts are an intuitive metric of physical activity and are useful for goal-setting and motivating behavioral change. This article reviews the current evidence for daily step counts as related to common health conditions to determine activity goals to prescribe to patients, and also discusses factors to consider when counseling patients on physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-409
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Sports Medicine Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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