Walking is easy and costs nothing - unlike the gym, swimming pool or professional running shoes. The right number of steps each day brings many benefits proven scientifically. From lower body weight, through efficient brain function, good humor, to stronger bones and better overall quality of life.
In recent years, there has been a fashion for walking 10,000 steps a day. It probably scares you, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, does this number, apart from being "pretty" and round, have any justification in science? We decided to check it out!
To find the answer for this question, we must move to Japan and go back to 1964.
This year, the Olympic Games were to take place in Tokyo, so local companies were desperate to find ways to monetize this great event.
One of them, Yamasa, came up with the idea of the world's first modern pedometer that you can carry with you. She called it manpo-kei, which means ... "10,000-pedometer." That's right - 10,000 steps arose as a purely marketing idea! In their opinion, 10,000 steps were a symbolic symbol of an active lifestyle. The activities were supported by the premise that it is 10,000 steps that is the perfect balance between ingested and burned calories, which is the basis for maintaining optimal form. Everything beautiful, only in those days there was no study that could justify this number...
Only was that important?
The goal has been achieved - the world has gone crazy on pedometers. The Gartner research company estimates that in 2020, 0.5 billion people around the world will use pedometers. However, how is this health benefit? Does walking 10,000 steps make sense? Or maybe the answer is another number?
A sedentary lifestyle is harmful - we've known that for a long time. Many studies prove that taking less than 5000 steps a day leads to weight gain, bone loss (which leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis), muscle weakness, type II diabetes and other health problems.
However, there is a big difference between 5,000 and 10,000 steps. Unfortunately, most scientific research focuses on only two groups:
You probably won't be surprised that the latter group is healthier 😉
Unfortunately, in connection with this research, international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Heart Foundation began to recommend taking 10,000 steps a day. And for chronically ill people with type II diabetes, older people or just those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, the number 10,000 literally knocks off their feet.
By the way - do you know that diabetes type II is at the forefront of the most common diseases among millennials?
This often leads to thinking like "if I can't take 10,000 steps, it doesn't make sense to change anything." And that's not true! This is proved by a Harvard study comparing the mortality of two groups of older women:
It turned out that in the second group mortality was lower by as much as 41%!
All the more so the real question of scientific research should be: what is the minimum number of steps that should be taken each day?
The same Harvard study measured how mortality was reduced by walking in an increasing number of steps. It turned out that it literally decreases with each step, reaching the largest decrease at 7,500 steps.
However, the matter is more complicated because the study:
Only one thing is certain - the more steps, the better (up to 7,500, and maybe even further). Each, even the smallest change has a positive effect on health. What's the conclusion for you? You can weave at least 60 seconds of walking in a rhythm of 100 steps per minute into your everyday life, e.g. when you are waiting for a bus and you will benefit from it.
Big goals are achieved in small steps!