10,000 Steps A Day Is This The Magic Number For Good Health?

Posted on 27th September, 2019

We’ve all heard that we should be hitting 10,000 steps a day to keep healthy and fit. But the research behind this might surprise you.

How many people do you know who track their steps with smartwatches or phone apps? Maybe you’re one of them. I know I certainly am…and I’ve got to tell you I get a thrill every time I hit the big 10k my Fitbit gives a little jig and the fireworks flash across the screen…I feel like it’s saying “You go girl”. If I leave the house without wearing my Fitbit I think bugger it, I’m not going to walk any extra steps because they won’t be counted. Have we all gone a bit mad, measuring and focusing so much on our step count?

The magic number “10,000” dates back to a marketing campaign conducted around the start of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics . A company began selling a pedometer called the Manpo-kei: “man” meaning 10,000, “po” meaning steps and “kei” meaning meter. It was hugely successful and the number seems to have stuck. There was no real evidence to support this target. Rather, it was a marketing strategy to sell step counters. . Is 10,000 the magic number?

I did some good old googling to see what research was out there…and surprise surprise there was evidence supporting walking the 10,0000 steps and other research indicating that 7,500 steps a day was all you needed to do, after which the benefits then plateaued. In that study, it said walking more than 7,500 steps a day made no difference to life expectancy.

In a study of the psychology behind counting your steps it showed people enjoyed the novelty of being given the target. 70% of participants found the target a challenge and it motivated them to be more active. However, 30% of participants soon realised how difficult it was to maintain …and it actually made them feel unmotivated as they thought it was all too hard..

Love or hate counting steps, one thing that all studies agreed upon was we should all be walking at least half an hour a day for good health. So get up, get out and get movin…don’t forget your Fitbit or the steps won’t count!

By Pam Howard

 

Sharings Caring!