10,000 Steps a Day

Pedometers are now readily available in fitness trackers you wear and apps on your smartphone. A pedometer tracks how many steps you’ve taken. A new benchmark has become part of our fitness lexicon because of pedometer proliferation.

Take at least 10,000 steps a day and you’ll be healthy.

For most people, 10,000 steps are around 5 miles. So, if you walk five miles a day, you’ll be healthy. Like drinking 8 glasses of water a day and sleeping 8 hours, 10,000 steps is now a standard.

Where did 10,000 steps come from? Is it true? Do I need a fitness tracker?

Harvard University professor I-Min Lee recently published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing step volume and mortality. One thing she found is the origin of the 10,000 step guideline. The original concept for 10,000 steps was a marketing strategy for a Japanese company selling pedometers in 1965. Over the last 50 years the myth of 10,000 steps has proliferated around the world.

Lee’s study on step volume and mortality shed light on the 10,000 step benchmark. The basic find was at 4,400 steps per day, the women in the study had significantly lower mortality rates compared to sedentary people. The mortality rate leveled out at 7,500 steps. Increasing daily physical activity by as little as 2,000 steps a day created positive health benefits in elderly women.

There will be more scientific study around the 10,000 step guideline. What’s most important is what is best for you. Walking isn’t everyone’s chosen activity. Some people can’t walk distances. What’s important about the 10,000 step guideline is it promotes physical activity. It’s simply saying moving is important.

Move your body every day. If you’re sedentary, move more every day consistently so you improve your fitness. Some activity is better than no activity. You don’t have to join a gym to move your body.

Take the stairs. Every time you have an elevator or escalator to ride, take the stairs instead.

Take your dog for a walk. Walking the dog gives you a great reason to walk yourself.

Walk to your appointments. Park your car a few blocks away and walk there instead.

Park on the outskirts of the parking lot. Don’t fight for the closest spot. Park far away and walk to the store.

Walk with friends and family. Invite people to go for a walk. Talk and enjoy the company while you’re moving.

There are lots of ways to increase your movement. You can walk as part of your fitness program or you can simply work on ways to be more active. You don’t have to do 10,000 steps a day. Just do more for you.