An entire industry has been built on the claim that 10,000 steps a day were necessary to be healthy. But, where did this figure come from?
In recent years, the 10,000 steps-a-day regime has become entrenched in popular culture. Famous professors advise that this become a routine, and most gadgets and applications have the magic number as a default.
This is all despite the fact that 10,000 steps is a completely arbitrary figure.
It originates from a successful Japanese marketing campaign in the mid-60s. In an attempt to capitalize on the immense popularity of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the company Yamasa designed the world’s first wearable step-counter, a device called a monpo-kei,which translates as “10,000-step meter”.
As Prof. David Bassett, head of kinesiology at the University of Tennessee, puts it:
“There wasn’t really any evidence for it at the time, they just felt that was a number that was indicative of an active lifestyle and should be healthy.”
A research team at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare began to investigate the potential benefits of taking 10,000 steps. They concluded that the average Japanese person took between 3,500 and 5,000 steps a day, and that if these people increased their daily step count to 10,000, they could decrease their risk of coronary artery disease.
None of the research on the 10,000 steps a day question has impressed me. Most are arbitrary and leave many questions unanswered.
Let’s put down some FACTS:
- Sitting more that 3 hours a day is bad for your health, get up and do 5 body squats every half an hour;
- Even a 20 minute walk, results in an increase of “happiness hormones” in your brain;
- If your goal is weight loss, 10,000 steps a day isn’t going to cut it, unless you control what you eat;
- Increasing the tempo, say 100 steps per minute, will increase the calories you burn, but not by any significant amount;
- If your heart rate is above (220-your age) x .85, this becomes aerobic and leaves you open to oxidative damage. (226 – your age) x 0.85 for women. I advise against jogging.
- The most efficient way to train you cardiovascular system and muscles is resistance training.
- Look at High Intensity Interval Training and resistance training seriously. If you’re not a gym rat “Super Slow Training” will take only 15-20 minutes per week.
Please read my post dated February 16, 2018, “An Old Topic Re-Visited”, for some details of what I say above.
That’s it for now; see you all next time.