Is 10,000 steps the magic number?

21st Feb 2017

Is 10,000 steps the magic number?

Posted by Gym Freaks on 21st Feb 2017 | 0 comments

10,000 steps has been in the news today after Dr Greg Hager, an expert in computer science at Johns Hopkins University spoke out against the figure of steps that many of us are inspired to achieve each day. A large amount of us now own FitBits, Apple Watches and other devices, which tell us that the magic number of steps to take each day is 10,000. So why exactly was this number plucked out of the air?

Is 10,000 steps the magic number?

The figure itself came from a study of Japanese men in 1960, where it was ascertained that by doing 10,000 steps a day he would burn the appropriate amount of calories. So why now 57 years on are we still drawn to this magical number? Surely physical and environmental changes mean a more updated number is required? 

Dr Hager is suggesting that this ideal goal could be causing more harm than good, but there's something crucial that we have to remember here. Just like the allegations against FitBit for its heart rate monitor, we have to remind ourselves that a Fitness tracker is a guide. It is not a doctor, it does not know your health conditions, your body or your style of living. 

Ten thousand steps is a great number to aspire to, especially if you are young, fit and healthy, and in all probability we should be doing more! However as we get older, our fitness changes and so does our body. This exact same goal ascertainable by those in their 20s and 30s may not be possible for those in their 50s and 60s. Does this mean that they are unfit or unhealthy and should feel guilty? No. It does not. 

The best thing to remember here is to seek advice. Just because we are told that 10,000 steps a day keeps us healthy does not mean it will keep you healthy. Speak to your doctor who will advise you of the best course of action and remember that Rome was never built in a day. If you can only manage 5000 a day then that is one hundred times better than no exercise at all. 


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