When it comes to being fit and healthy, We are often reminded to walk 10,000 steps a day. This goal can be frustrating, especially when we are busy with work and other commitments. Most of us know that 10,000 steps are recommended everywhere as a goal to achieve, but where does this number come from?
The goal of 10,000 steps a day appears to have come from a pedometer marketed in 1965 by Yamasa Clock in Japan. The apparatus was called “Manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000-step meter.” It was a marketing tool for the device and it seems to have set itself the target of daily steps around the world. It’s even included in the daily activity goals of the most popular smartwatches, like Fitbit.
Since then, the goal of 10,000 steps a day has been investigated. The fact that some studies have shown that this step goal improves heart health, mental health, and even reduces the risk of diabetes, may explain, to some extent, why we are left with this arbitrary number.
In ancient Rome, distances were measured by counting steps. In fact, the word “mile” is derived from the Latin phrase Mila step, which means 1,000 steps, which is equivalent to about 2,000 today. The average person is said to walk about 100 steps per minute, which means it would take just under 30 minutes to walk a mile. Therefore, for someone to reach the 10,000 step goal, they would have to walk four to five miles a day (about two hours of activity).
But while some research has shown health benefits from 10,000 steps, recent research from Harvard Medical School has shown that, on average, about 4,400 steps a day are enough to significantly reduce the risk of death in women. This is so compared to walking only about 2,700 steps a day. The more steps taken, the lower the risk of death, before stabilizing at around 7,500 steps a day. No additional benefits were seen with more steps. Although it is not known if similar results would be obtained in men, it is an example of how moving a little more daily can improve health and reduce the risk of death.
Although the World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity), Research also shows that even low intensity exercise can improve your health, although moderate intensity exercise improves it to a greater extent. This means that your steps throughout the day can contribute to your 150 minutes of target activity.
Activity can also help mitigate the damage of sitting for long periods of time.. Research has shown that people who sit for eight or more hours a day have a 59% higher risk of death compared to those who sit less than four hours a day. However, they also discovered that if people engaged in 60-75 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, this seemed to eliminate this increased risk of death. Therefore, taking brisk walks could help mitigate the negative effects of sitting for too long.
Recent research from the University of Texas has also shown that if you walk fewer than 5,000 steps a day, your body is less able to metabolize fat the next day. The accumulation of fat in the body can also increase the likelihood that a person will develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This is supported by previous research showing that people who walk fewer than 4,000 steps a day cannot reverse this decrease in fat metabolism.
Increased physical activity, such as step count, reduces the risk of death by improving health, including reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as dementia and certain types of cancer. In some cases, it helps improve health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Exercise can also help us improve and maintain our immune systems. Nevertheless, Based on current research, it appears that taking 10,000 steps a day is not essential for health benefits – half of that goal appears to be beneficial.
If you want to increase the number of steps you take per day, or just want to move more, an easy way to do that is to increase your current number of steps by about 2,000 steps per day. Other simple ways to get around more on a daily basis are to walk to work, if possible, or participate in an online exercise program if you work from home. Meeting friends for a walk – instead of going to a coffee shop or bar – can also be helpful. And since even small amounts of physical activity have a positive impact on health, taking regular breaks to move when working at a desk all day will help you get more physical with ease.
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