PURPOSE: To compare the number of steps accumulated by women instructed to walk 10,000 steps per day (10K group) with those told to take a brisk 30-min walk on most, preferably all, days of the week (30-min group).METHODS: Daily steps were compared for 58 sedentary women (mean age 45.0+/-6.0 yr) randomly assigned to either the 10K or the 30-min group. Subjects wore a sealed pedometer for 2 wk for baseline physical activity assessment. Those averaging <or=7000 steps per day were randomly assigned to a group for the 4-wk intervention. All subjects wore a sealed pedometer capable of storing 7 d of data, and reported to the laboratory each week so that investigators could gather step counts. The 10K group wore a second pedometer for viewing their daily steps.RESULTS: There were no differences (P>0.05) between the groups for baseline steps. During the intervention, there was a significant difference (P<0.005) between groups in daily steps. The 30-min group walked 8270+/-354 steps per day, and the 10K group walked 10,159+/-292 steps per day. The 30-min group averaged 9505+/-326 steps per day on the days that a 30-min walk occurred, and 5597+/-363 steps per day when no walk occurred (P<0.05). The 10K group averaged 11,775+/-207 steps on days when they walked at least 10,000 steps, and 7780+/-231 steps on days that their target was not achieved (P<0.05).CONCLUSION: Women walk more when told to take 10,000 steps per day compared with those instructed to take a brisk 30-min walk. On days when women took a 30-min walk, their average step count was near 10,000.