Why We Don’t Really Need to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day to be Healthy
Many people in Central Jersey, including my wife, Kathleen, and I set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Why? Because someone, somewhere, said that was the right amount of steps we should walk each day to be healthy.
Who said this? According to Men’s Health Forum, “The idea of walking 10,000 steps a day was invented as part of the marketing campaign for an early pedometer ahead of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese character for 10,000 looks rather like a person walking so the device was called the Manpo-kei or 10,000 steps meter.”
Now, a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reveals that a person doesn’t need to walk 10,000 steps a day in order to see health benefits.
Researchers found that people can reduce their risk of dying at a young age if they walk 3,967 steps a day. People can reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by walking 2,337 steps a day.
Researcher Maciej Banach says, “Our analysis indicates that as little as 4,000 steps a day are needed to significantly reduce deaths from any cause, and even fewer to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.”
However, he also shared that their study confirmed that the more you walk, the better. “We found that this applied to both men and women. It’s irrespective of age and irrespective of whether you live in a temperate, sub-tropical or sub-polar region of the world, or a region with a mixture of climates.”
Men’s Health also reported that “The research suggests that while every little bit helps, about 9,800 steps hit the sweet spot when it comes to dementia. 9,800 steps was the optimal dose to lower the risk of dementia by 50%. But the risk was reduced by 25% at as low as 3,800 steps a day.”
It appears that 10,000 steps may not be necessary to attain certain health benefits. However, setting our sights on the lowest possible goal may not be a good idea.
I think it’s best to keep our goal of 10,000, but not beat ourselves up if we don’t hit that number sometimes.
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