Ten Thousand steps a day: it’s a walking goal that has taken the world by storm over the past few years, one that equates to roughly 5 miles per day, depending on one’s stride. So, is 10,000 a magic number we should strive for or a marketing tactic used to sell trackers?
Well, the answer is “both.”
The 10,000 Step Campaign
The 10,000 step practice has been traced back to a marketing campaign from the 1960s by a Japanese company selling pedometers. In recent years, fitness tracker companies like FitBit and Garmin set this as a default number as a walking goal. Many personal trainers also encourage their clients to take roughly 10,000 steps each day. And while various studies show conflicting results, the concept still holds merit.
Current U.S. guidelines advise adults to engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Regular walking has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. And while walking 10,000 steps a day is a good baseline, exercise isn’t a one-size-fits all approach. An exercise regimen will vary from person to person based on age, weight, lifestyle, and medical history. Some may need to set a lower goal for the day while others hit 10k before lunch. It’s important to set realistic goals that still challenge you without negatively impacting your health.
Quality vs. Quantity
All too many Americans lead sedentary lifestyles as rising obesity rates among other signs – clearly indicate. And then there are those who sit at a desk or in front of a screen for hours at a time – obese or not, they’re not helping themselves. So, if a fitness watch or tracker can help remind you to move periodically, that’s reason enough to have a step goal, 10,000 or otherwise.
Still, don’t ignore the quality of the step or any other form of exercise. For example, if you are just embarking on a fitness journey, 10,000 steps may be a lofty goal. Perhaps you’re challenged by 5,000 steps. Or you work out intensively 4 to 5 times a week instead and take leisurely walks through the park the rest of the week. As stated previously it’s not a one-size-fits all approach. Also keep heart rate in mind. While movement of any sort is better than none, movement that elevates your heart rate (within a safe range) is better. Just remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Are you frustrated with your weight, your overall health, lack of energy, or similar symptoms? Then come see the medical team at MedCare Express to help start you on a path to a healthier you. Contact us for an appointment today.