With fitbits and pedometers on smartphones currently trending, more and more people are keeping track of how many steps they do per day. How often have you heard your friends, relatives or colleagues talk about the 10,000 step goal? However, where does the 10,000 step goal actually come from? And how legitimate even is it??
A recent study by I-Min Lee, a professor at Harvard University, states the 10,000 step goal was really just a marketing ploy and that no real scientific research links this number of steps to having significant health benefits! Crazy, isn’t it?! A Japanese pedometer released in the 1960s was termed manpo-kei meaning 10,000 steps. This is where the 10,000 is thought to have originated from, but there’s little to no research to back the health claims being made now!
Through advancements in technology, fitbits and step counters integrated into phones/smart watches, the 10,000 benchmark has become the social norm! However Lee’s research (n = 16,000 American females) states that a mere 4,400 steps is actually enough to decrease mortality rate in comparison to sedentary females. Mortality rate continued to drop with an increase in step count until around 7,500 steps, where a plateau occurred. The take home message from this study was that an increase of just 2,000 steps was associated with health benefits for the participating females.
The 10,000 step goal isn’t realistic for many individuals, especially the elderly and those with sedentary jobs, but it’s important to not get disheartened. What is important is to increase your physical activity levels. Now this could be through walking, but it could also be through cycling on a stationary bike, swimming, rowing, dancing, playing a team sport or doing a gym session!
If you are interested in gaining these health benefits but don’t know where to start, drop us a message today and we will help.