10,000 steps per day: too many or not enough?
Your fitness tracker encourages you to take 10,000 steps every day, but that alone won’t make you healthy. Walking can be a great exercise, but are 10,000 steps enough to keep fit? We all know that daily exercise is important, and our fitness trackers have been trying to persuade us to walk 10,000 steps every day for a long time. But does this number mean anything for your health? While this may just be a useful way to measure your daily activity (since technically you don’t have to spend an hour at the gym every day to “be active”), is it really the best way to measure activity?
Yes, the small everyday things that you do to move more every day matter. For example, choosing to walk to work, park away, or climb stairs makes a difference to your activity, and it’s great that our technology can help us see this. But is there any real health benefit to walking 10,000 steps every day? And does it matter how you achieve them? What about other workouts that you do but that don’t give you as many steps? Keep reading to find out what science and experts have to say about these ten thousand who are full of teeth. You can learn more about men’s health here ahealthyman.com
- Why 10,000 steps a day are not suitable for everyone
- Where did 10,000 steps per day come from?
- The best way to track your daily activities
- What is the goal to strive for
Why 1,0000 steps per day are not suitable for everyone
Since all people have different physiological data and have a unique lifestyle, activity level and goals of these activities, not everyone will need the same amount of exercise every day to be healthy. In part, it comes down to the individual goals of each person and their health problems. But is 10,000 steps a day enough for an ordinary person to be considered active and healthy? According to Professor Paul Gordon, a sports physiologist and head of the Department of Human Health, Performance and Recreation at Baylor University, this very figure can become a serious goal for some and just a starting point for others.
“The average person will take from 3,000 to 6,000 steps during the day during trips to work, during a shopping trip, etc. And then he will add 30 minutes of exercises (the equivalent of 3,000 steps), which will lead him to the same 10,000 steps,” Gordan said. He also added that when it comes to walking, it’s more beneficial for your health.
So if you don’t do regular workouts and don’t calculate your steps, how much do you need to do? According to the Department of Health and Human Services, you need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of active activity (such as running or dancing in cardio classes) each week. DHHS also recommends doing strength exercises (such as weight lifting or bodyweight exercises) twice a week.
Keep in mind that if your goal is to lose weight, maintain weight loss, or achieve other specific fitness goals, it may take you more than the standard 150 minutes to reach your goal.
Where did 10,000 steps per day come from?
The 10,000-step recommendation has long been the main one, but have you ever wondered where it came from? Although you can say that the recommendation was obtained from a medical source or a state health agency, it turns out that this is not the case at all.
At a recent speech at the Movement by Michelob Ultra fitness industry event in Austin, sports medicine physician Dr. Jordan Metzl stated that the number of 10,000 steps is arbitrary. The number has roots that can be traced back to the Japanese walking club, which adopted the term as part of a marketing slogan.
The JAMA Internal Medicine article also states that there is a “limited scientific base” supporting the claim that 10,000 steps per day are necessary for health. But the study found that participants who took more steps per day (over a four-year period) had a lower mortality rate than those who took fewer steps.
The best way to track your daily activities
If you have a Fitbit, Apple Watch or other smartwatches, you know that these devices can track much more than just your steps. And while it’s useful to keep track of the total number of steps and the distance you walk each day, could other factors be a more effective way to measure your activity? According to Gordan, steps are not the best measurement of physical activity. “They do not take into account the intensity of activity and are not an effective method of measuring activity for forms that do not include walking (i.e. cycling).”
Since the steps can’t explain your intensity level, Gordan recommends also using a heart rate monitor to help you assess the intensity of the exercise. After all, you could technically complete 10,000 steps a day without raising your heart rate and maintaining it for a long time. “I would like to encourage participation in weekly activities that will increase your heart rate over an extended period of time.” He said balanced exercise can look like you’re doing an exercise that increases your heart rate (like brisk walking or running) four days a week, and attending yoga classes two days a week to work on your strength and flexibility.
What is the goal to strive for
If 10,000 steps a day seems like an arbitrary goal, then what good goals should you aim for when it comes to activity? A factor that can make a big difference to your health doesn’t really have anything to do with how many steps you take, but rather how much time you spend sitting. “Studies have shown that sitting for a long time in itself is harmful to health, even if you perform a daily load. Therefore, active activity during the day is very useful.”
It is recommended to strive to reduce the time you spend sitting every day by replacing it with sports, even if you already get the recommended amount of exercise every day. Excessive sitting is associated with a higher risk of metabolic problems and can affect your health.
In addition, a recent study found that people who sat for more than 13.5 hours a day were unable to get the health benefits of one hour of exercise because their overall activity level was so low compared to the time they spent sitting.