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I use the Samsung S-Health app which has a global step challenge with a public leaderboard. To complete the challenge, you need to walk 200,000 steps in the month.

Looking over the leaderboard though, there are some people with ridiculously high step counts:

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Fifth place has ~2.5 million steps. 2.5 million / 27 (days so far) = ~92593 steps/day!

As someone who walks ~8k steps a day, and has a record count of 40k steps in one day, 90k steps a day on average seems impossibly high. I filed a report to Samsung noting how the counts seem suspicious, and they replied, assuring me that they take cheating seriously and that the leaderboard is legitimate.

Is it remotely feasible to walk more than 90,000 steps a day, every day for a month? Is this something that someone may do in the course of training or some running sport?

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  • They probably shared the tracking device. But you'd be better off asking this kind of question on Outdoors.SE. Sports.SE is primarily for competitive sports.
    – dly
    Aug 28, 2018 at 6:23
  • I once walked 33 miles in a day (say ~65k steps) , I couldn't move for the next 2-3 days! I was a very fit and healthy 20 year old back then. I wonder if these apps can be tricked into thinking you're walking when placed on objects such as washing machines that vibrate or move in a certain way.
    – davidjwest
    Aug 29, 2018 at 8:39
  • @davidjwest That's what I'm wondering, as many cheaper pedometers are susceptible to that. If walking that is remotely feasible, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, but the consensus seems to be that its not. Aug 29, 2018 at 10:53

5 Answers 5

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In effect, the people at the top of this list are saying that they walk an equivalent of 50 miles a day or so, every day. Finding myself skeptical, I've done a bit of research.

A world-class race walker can cover 50 km in about four hours. That translates to about 30 miles in four hours. That means that walking at that pace would require about seven hours to cover 50 miles, if one could keep it up that long.

After a 50k race, a competitor typically needs two to three weeks to recover.

So, it seems very feasible that there are thousands of people in the world who could cover 50 miles in 10 hours, at the rapid pace of five mph. (And billions who cold not.) It seems highly unlikely that there are more than a few people — if any — in the world who would be able to do it for 30 days in a row.

I remain skeptical that these numbers are even remotely accurate, Samsung's assertions to the contrary notwithstanding.

Edit: it would seem that we are far from alone in our skepticism of these numbers, to the point that the "challenge" appears generally regarded as something of a joke.

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I would say that it's highly unlikely but not impossible to take 90k steps in one day.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records Walter Geckle walked 108.75 miles in a 24 hour period. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/farthest-distance-nordic-walking-in-24-hours

According to Temple University there are about 2k steps in a mile. so 2000 x 108.75 = 217,500 steps https://www.temple.edu/hr/departments/benefits/documents/Conversion_Chart.pdf

Finally, in case you're wondering what Nordic Walking is ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_walking

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  • The OP is not just asking about 1 day. Is it possible to do it daily for a month? Sep 1, 2018 at 18:44
  • I did actually say highly unlikely, also one could not do this a single time without hard core training - I couldn't even begin to speculate what that would look like
    – Sean
    Sep 4, 2018 at 21:39
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The average adult's - male or female - stride length is 2.5 feet. Two steps is 5 feet. Doing the math (90,000x2.5)/5280, 90,000 steps equals about 42.6 miles. I would be very dubious that any person walks an average of 42+ miles every day. Maybe they attach the pedometer to their little Chihuahua.

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Samsung's challenge leaderboard is a joke, and I have serious doubts about even some of the lower numbers being posted.

My personal best with a fitness tracker was just over 42,000 steps in a day. I logged that with a Fitbit, which counted a higher step total than my Samsung watch. This happened on a Saturday, starting with a long walk before dawn and ending with a late night rebounding session. I did my regular P90X workout session and I was moving constantly throughout the day. Still, I had to work hard to reach 40,000 and I was feeling the effects of that effort several days later.

So to answer the question, no, an average of 90,000 steps a day is not sustainable. I'd argue that even 40,000 steps a day isn't sustainable for a month. If you look at the average daily steps of all Samsung Health users, it's somewhere in the range of 6,000. When you consider that blatant cheaters are skewing that average... Well, you figure it out.

Any daily average over 20,000 steps is an accomplishment, and it takes a real commitment of time and energy to achieve even that.

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I have a treadmill desk which I use while working. I am a full time stock trader and comfortably can work and walk at a pace of just under 3 miles per hour. For 2020, I averaged 46,967 steps per day as measured on my fitbit app (and this misses some of my steps for recharging). On a typical weekday, I walk 55,000 steps and weekends 40,000 steps. I am 67 years old.

I've walked one week over 60,000 steps per day and a few days in the year under 20,000 day (on vacation in Europe). Overall, when I push it, I can easily get 70,000 steps in a day (and on one day exceeded 80,000. So is it possible to do 50,000 steps per day. I would say easily.

If I really pushed it, I think at 67, I could do 70,000 steps in a day. So a young stud at 25, should be able to do 90,000 steps per day. I think these numbers are believeable.

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