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Surely your smartphone is counting the steps you are taking right now. In addition, if you reach the required 10,000, a notification will skip rewarding you as a daily achievement. It has become a kind of magic figure, like crossing a virtual finish line, with which to feel physically fit, but that does not mean that physical paradise is behind it.
It is a good recommendation, especially considering that about 10,000 steps are about seven kilometers on average and that walking, especially from certain ages where physical exercise costs more, will be the best way to stay in shape.
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking daily helps regulate our blood pressure levels, reduces risks of diabetes and heart attacks, in addition to controlling our weight and releasing endorphins, which will help us feel better. Therefore, no one is going to deny that walking or going for a walk is not going to be good for our body.
The point is that the standardized measurement of the 10,000 steps has a more ‘marketinian’ origin than mere sports since for this it is necessary to move to Japan in the 60s, when a company developed a kind of pedometer that they baptized as Manpo-kei (literally the 10,000-step meter), following studies carried out by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano of Kyushu University.
The device was aimed at promoting greater sports activity in the Japanese population, which at that time began to adopt more American habits (sedentary lifestyle and fatter diets). Come on, a kind of We’re counting on you, but Japanese-style, with the 1968 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner.
From there, years passed, until mobile applications and various physical activity measurement devices also jumped on the bandwagon like Google Fit.
Why not torment yourself with your step level
It is not that we multiply stress, or that we necessarily have to walk these steps, but rather to find some margins in which we are comfortable doing this daily exercise or why the 10,000 steps are not for all audiences.
According to a study developed by Doctors Catrine Tudor-Locke and David R. Bassett, from the University of Arizona, we found that a sedentary lifestyle would be one with fewer than 5,000 daily steps, while a lifestyle with low activity would go between 5,000 and 7,499 daily steps.
Higher would be the ‘a little active’ between 7,500 and 9,999 steps, with 10,000 already being those of someone ‘active’ and more than 12,500 steps per day as ‘highly active’. That said, are 10,000 steps our great sporting goal?
As in practically everything, it is not only the quantity that matters but also the quality of those steps. It will not be the same to walk 10,000 steps at three kilometers per hour than to do it at six kilometers per hour. This is why we adhere to a recommendation from the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, which calls for incorporating 30 minutes of brisk walking daily.
Especially for those with sedentary habits, which would mean between 3,000 or 4,000 steps a day. Therefore, we pay attention to this same study, which values the speed of our steps, with the amount of one hundred steps per minute being a good way to improve our quality of life.
Walking to lose weight: how much and how you should do it
The reason is simple: if you are not used to it, you may become over-fatigued, choke, or even your joints are not used to going from zero to one hundred in just one day. This would lead us to an interesting figure, provided we talk about the population not used to sports.
For her, we use the United States Department of Health, which recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week, among which you can find these walks. The same mention that would already lead us to active people if they do between 150 and 300 minutes of sports a week and those that exceed 300 minutes are ‘very active’. In either case, the recommendation of the Mayo Clinic is to increase consistency and measure our daily activity.