- Posted on Jul 16, 2019
We’ve all heard it – you need to walk 10,000 steps per day to be healthy. Even your Fitbit type devices are pre-programmed to make sure you reach this goal. But is it true?
According to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, you may not need 10,000 steps per day. The study measured over 16,000 women in their 70s for one week. They averaged 4400 steps per day. Then 4 years later, they checked on their health. The women who averaged 4400 steps per day had lower death rates than those who averaged only 2700 steps per day. The death rates kept dropping until they reached 7500 steps per day. Those who walked more than 7500 steps per day did not live any longer.
So, Where Did the Idea of Taking 10,000 Steps Come From?
While the exact origin of walking 10,000 steps is unclear, the article mentions a Japanese pedometer sold in 1965 called “Manpo-kei”, which translates to “10,000 steps meter” in Japanese. Does this mean that the tradename of a popular device influenced our health goals? Apparently so.
Don’t Believe Everything
It reminds me of the following story:
A young woman is baking a ham for the first time. She carefully cuts of the end and places it in the roasting pan. Her roommate asks her why she cut the end off. “My mother always did that.” So, they call her mother, who replies “My mother always did that.” They then call Grandmother and she replies “I cut the end off the ham because my roasting pan was not long enough.”
The Bottom Line
Granted, the study was on older women, the bottom line for everyone is, keep moving! While the exact number of steps is under debate, the more you move, the healthier you will be.
Lee, IM, et.al. Association of Step Volume and Intensity with All-Cause Mortality in Older Women. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 29, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899