A recent report published by the UC Davis Integrative Medicine suggests that walking 10,000 steps every day has several health benefits. Joggers run past the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa, July 17, 2012. Reuters

"If you look at it, if everyone did just 10,000 steps a day in America we would probably decrease health care budget by $500 billion a year and that shows how few people actually do it, and two how big a reduction in chronic disease we’d have if more did," said Michael F. Roizen, author of “Age Proof: Living longer without running out of money or breaking a hip.”

What’s best is that one can never go wrong with walking. It not just improves mood, but it also remarkably reduces stress and clears the mind.

But where did the concept of 10,000 steps come from? And what happens to your body when you take 10,000 steps?

According to UC Davis Integrative Medicine, the 10,000 steps concept was first popularized by Japanese pedometers in the 1960s under the name "manpo-kei," which means "10,000 steps meter.

Even since, studies have been conducted and have revealed that meeting the 10,000 steps benchmark every day did lead to health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Read: How To Live Longer: Running Could Stave Off Aging By 9 Years

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information established that a group of people who walked over 10,000 steps each day for 12 weeks, showed lower blood pressure levels.

Another such study said: “The 10,000 steps/day recommendation resulted in improved glucose tolerance and a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in overweight women at risk for type 2 diabetes. This demonstrates that activity can be accumulated throughout the day and does not have to result in weight loss to benefit this population. ”

How Many Steps Do You Currently Take or Need?

While the Centers for Disease and Control doesn't specifically recommend 10,000 steps a day, it does suggest people get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week or 30 minutes a day coupled with two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity.

Here is an index of levels of physical activity according to your daily steps as UC Davis Integrative Medicine suggests:

Sedentary adults: <5,000 steps

Low Activity: 5,000-7,499 steps

Somewhat active: 7,500-9,999 steps

Active: >10,000 steps

Highly Active: >12,500 steps

Roizen, in his book, points to a recent study, that found postal workers in Glasgow, Scotland, who walked 15,000 steps a day, had fewer risk factors for heart disease than colleagues who sat throughout the day.

How Can You Meet The 10,000 Steps Mark?

While 10,000 steps may seem like a lofty goal, it's easier than you think. Neil Johannsen, an assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University, recommends the following:

  • Whether it's at work or going to the grocery store, park your vehicle at the end of the parking lot so you get additional steps.
  • Get up and move for 5-10 minutes every hour at work. Johannsen said people should make time to move during work so they aren't sedentary for long periods of time. "Get up and move to break up the sedentary time, and that may be just as important as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day," he said.

The Mayo Clinic recommends starting out with short-term goals and adding 1,000 steps each week until you reach 10,000 steps.

Once you reach the 10,000 steps mark, don’t just stop there. Aim higher and increase your fitness level but not by merely increasing duration but by increasing your intensity by walking faster or light jogging.