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10,000 Steps A Day Is A Scam!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Yup, that's right, but first, if you have no problem getting in 10,000 steps/day (or more) and it's working for you than this blog is probably not for you, but do know that the 10,000 steps/day goal is not based on scientific data.

The truth of the matter is that the 10,000 steps/day workout plan was the idea of a Japanese marketing firm in the 1960's. "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 manpo-kei, which translates as “10,000-step meter". (The manpo-kei is the "predecessor to the pedometers and later Fitbit style trackers and smart watches that dominate today.")

"There wasn’t really any evidence for it at the time,” says Prof David Bassett, head of kinesiology, recreation and sport studies at the University of Tennessee. “They just felt that was a number that was indicative of an active lifestyle and should be healthy."

And it is important to note that "while the World Health Organization, the American Heart Foundation and the US Department of Health & Human Services have all gradually adopted 10,000 steps as a daily activity recommendation, in recent years the veracity of this number has been increasingly called into question." In 2018, "Mike Brannan, national lead for physical activity at Public Health England declared: “There’s no health guidance that exists to back it."

So then what is the correct number of steps to take per day to help in leading a healthy, active lifestyle? First off, getting in 10,000 steps a day is a good goal if you have no problem reaching it - as long as the steps are brisk and not just sauntering along. Depending on a person's stride it's roughly 5 miles/day, but those steps should be ones that raise our heart rates and in reality not all steps we take do that.

What we do know is that "sedentary lifestyles are bad, and if you’re taking fewer than 5,000 steps a day on average this can lead to weight gain, increase your risk of bone loss, muscle atrophy, becoming diabetic and this litany of issues,” Prof Catrine Tudor-Locke of the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says. “But, at the same time, there seems to be an obsession about 10,000 and how many steps are enough, yet it’s more important, from a public health point of view, to get people off their couches. The question we should really be asking is: how many steps are too few?”

"According to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, adults should do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in order to get “substantial health benefits” from these activities. “If you translate those numbers into steps, what numbers do you actually get? It’s somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 steps per day,” explains Elroy Aguiar, PhD, senior postdoctoral research associate at the Physical Activity and Health Laboratory Department of Kinesiology at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

So it appears that 'substance' of activity is more important than any specific number. "Study after study shows that short bursts of more intense exercise beat longer periods of gentle walking. It is not how far you walk, it is how briskly you move that makes the biggest difference.

Strength training in addition to cardio is another key factor. This does not mean you have to go down the gym and pump iron. In fact, simple body-weight routines are more than enough for many people."

"Obviously, in general, the more active you are, the better it is for your health. Instead, this is meant to help people set more realistic goals for their lifestyles. “There’s nothing wrong with 10,000 steps. If people are achieving that you wouldn’t suggest doing less,” explains Dr. Aguiar. “But the important point is that the vast majority of the American population doesn’t do 10,000 steps and they don’t do 7,500 steps—on average in the United States, people get around 5,000 to 6,500 steps a day—so it’s setting a more realistic goal.”

Bottom line:
- Get off the couch or up from the chair.
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week = somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 steps per day.
- Regularly combining both strength training and cardio will yield substantial health benefits.


Science Says *This* Is How Much Exercise You Need to Offset Sitting All Day Long

How Many Steps a Day Should You *Actually* Be Taking? Hint: It’s Not 10,000

Watch your step: why the 10,000 daily goal is built on bad science

The Great 10000 Steps Swindle

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