Do You Really Need to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day?

Science and society tell us walking 10,000 steps a day is pivotal for a healthy life. But, why? Well, the results are surprising.

Walking has so many health benefits including improved fitness, cardiac health, mood, less joint stress, reduced pain and it even alleviates depression. 

But what are the parameters for the ideal walk? Somehow, the common misconception is that everyone should be walking at least 10,000 steps a day to be in their goal. 

The fact is, it’s a little more complicated than that.

 

Where Did 10,000 Steps Come From?

Hilariously enough, the number was picked more randomly than you’d expect. Rather than doing years of scientific research, the number reflects what constitutes an active lifestyle. 

The person behind the number is Dr. Yoshiro Hatano who invented the pedometer in Japan in 1965.

He named the pedometer Manpo-kei which literally translated to ‘10,000-step meter’. 

10,000 Steps_1.jpg
Step To It: The pedometer was created in 1956

Ever since the invention of this pedometer, fitness watches continued to push the idea that you should ideally walk 10,000 steps a day. 

But is this randomly picked number scientifically accurate? Not really.

 

Is 10,000 Steps Ideal?

While walking 10,000 steps a day is great as long as you are healthy, it is not a magical number. 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is evidence that walking 8,000 steps a day may enjoy the perk of a longer lifespan. 

They specifically said that, “People who take at least 8,000 daily steps are 51% less likely to die of all-cause mortality compared to those who only get 4,000 steps. 

“But the intensity of those steps does not matter.”

Although it is great that we can put a number on a healthy number of steps to take each day, there is a lot more to being overall healthy. 

For example, getting up regularly to stretch can do wonders to your health and can contribute to weight loss. 

So if you walk 8,000 steps in one go and sit for the rest of the day, you might not be doing everything you can for your health.

 

Other Health-Related Numbers

Steps are only one way to measure activity. Although 8,000 steps a day at any level of intensity is great, it can be great to incorporate moderate aerobic activity regularly. 

According to the NHS, the average UK adult is recommended to take 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. 

Another thing that the NHS recommends is adding two strength exercises twice a week. 

So while taking a leisurely walk to get your steps is great, you may want to consider incorporating other activities to the mix to lead a healthier lifestyle.

If you are walking 10,000 steps a day, good for you! As long as you are not experiencing any issues, walking more than the recommended 8,000 steps is great. 

However, if you struggle to do 10,000 steps every day, consider lowering your goal to 8,000 steps. 

Just don’t forget that these numbers are averages and do not necessarily reflect the ideal scenario for every individual.

Should I walk 10,000 steps a day? – the science behind the number, I’ve written something similar for my own blog, the science says 8,000 steps is enough for women to minimise their risk of dying earlier.

Photos: Shutterstock


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