Should you take 10,000 steps per day?

My workplace had a competition a couple of years ago where we all got fitness trackers, formed teams and raced to accumulate the most total steps. Most people were taken aback when they noticed they couldn’t easily hit the elusive 10,000 steps — a number most fitness apps endorse decent, even excellent, health as a norm. I studied for a long time the role that physical activity plays in preventing disease and it made me wonder: Where did that number come from?

It turns out that in 1965 a Japanese company named Yamasa Clock developed a personal-fitness pedometer named the Manpo-kei, meaning “10,000 steps meter.” The Japanese character for 10,000 looks more like a person walking or running, which is presumably how the gadget-maker decided on the name — and the number. This marketing campaign has been enormously popular and it seems that the number has stuck. It is also an easy goal to remember, especially if accompanied by a sketch of a person who is walking literally.

Taking 10,000 steps is around five milles walking. If you have an active career, like a waiter or nurse, only record 10,000 steps with everyday activity is difficult. (An inactive person takes 3,000 steps or less in his or her everyday walk around the house.)

When taking one or more daily walks or runs, most people reach 10,000 steps, the equivalent of 30 to 60 minutes of walking. That equals the recommendation for moderate physical exercise from most health authorities to minimize health risks.

If you would like to take more daily steps toward health and fitness, start with your baseline. Use a simple pedometer, activity tracker, or smartphone app to track your steps for about a week (many phones have a built-in step counter). You don’t have to leap to 10,000 overnight, from 3,000 steps a day.

If you have a sense of your daily average, aim to begin by adding 2,000 to 2,500 steps a day (about one mile). For a 150-pound male, walking a mile burns up about 80 calories. When you get confident with this additional workout, lengthen your walks or take shorter walks, so you get closer to 10,000 steps a day.

Some weight-loss plans advocate using moderate to intense exercise to burn 200 to 300 calories a day. The amount of calories that you consume by walking depends mainly on how much you weigh, and indirectly on how fast you move.

One is only burning calories sitting and breathing, which can be measured with this calorie per day calculator. If you get up and walk, you consume more calories per minute, and even more, if you run.

The walking 10,000 steps consumes between 250 and 600 calories, depending on your weight. To measure this for yourself, you can use the steps of the Pedometer to calories converter guide. You’ll need to know the average steps you take per mile.

Some weight-loss plans advocate using moderate to intense exercise to burn 200 to 300 calories a day. The amount of calories that you consume by walking depends mainly on how much you weigh, and indirectly on how fast you move.

One is only burning calories sitting and breathing, which can be measured with this calorie per day calculator. If you get up and walk, you consume more calories per minute, and even more, if you run.

The 10,000 steps walking consumes between 250 to 600 calories, depending on your weight. To test this for yourself, you can use calories converter guide measures from the pedometer. You will need to learn the average steps that you are taking per mile.

The problem is that it is time consuming to sign in to further moves. In the same time span burn more calories by increasing the workout speed. Through taking more of your steps at a fast walking or running speed, or by adding intervals like hills or stairs, you can improve strength.

And the really good news is here. You needn’t break into a sweat. It has been shown that blood sugar and insulin sensitivity are increasing, cholesterol and triglycerides are increasing, and lipoprotein lipase levels, an enzyme that helps to break down fat in the bloodstream, are improving – all of which can have a huge effect on overall health.

Also try to set aside time for dedicated moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise, whether that is walking, resistance training, or some other form of exercise that you enjoy. Many advanced pedometers, fitness trackers, and smartwatches detect whether or not your movement is enough to be considered moderate or vigorous exercise.

Yet there was no objective proof to justify the criterion. Until today, few studies have explored the association between measures taken and overall safety. I wanted to do my own research after my work-competition. I found that half that number of footfalls—4,400—in older women still lowered their risk of death, and that the benefit diminished to about 7,500. There is still more work to do for various age groups, so it is fair to assume that 10,000 isn’t a magic figure.

Check out my related post: Why should you run without earphones?


Interesting reads:

https://blog.fitbit.com/should-you-really-take-10000-steps-a-day/

https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/wellness/10000-steps-a-day-fitness-health-effects-12369056

https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/healthy-living/getting-fit/81-what-should-i-do-30-minutes-of-exercise-or-10000-stepsq.html

https://www.verywellfit.com/10000-steps-per-day-fitness-weight-loss-3435744

https://www.littlethings.com/10000-steps-every-day/

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190723-10000-steps-a-day-the-right-amount

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391

 

2 comments

  1. And take it from me… if you keep running every day, sooner or later the knees will give up. It might take some years, but eventually they do. I know from personal experience, but I know that if I had my time all over again I’d jog every day for the love of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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