10.000 steps a day - this is the often recommended minimum step goal an average adult should aim for to be considered healthy. But does that target have any logical proof?
We know there is overwhelming evidence that states sitting around all day is terrible for you. Some even say that "sitting is the new smoking," even though the two are not identical.
Something else we know is that simply increasing your daily activity already does wonders for your health, no matter how many steps you actually take.
So, where did this idea of 10.000 steps a day come from?
In 1965, Japanese organization Yamasa Toki presented their new step counter, which they called Manpo-Kei. This roughly translates to "10.000 steps meter," and naturally, they advertised their device with the slogan: "Let's walk 10,000 steps a day." The rest, as it's said, is history.
The possibility of taking 10.000 steps a day may have initially been a marketing strategy. But by all accounts, it has some value.
An individual who doesn't practice any physical activity consistently may walk around 6.000-7.000 steps a day just by going about their lives.
This is an estimate, and it fluctuates from individual to individual. A 30-minute walk will, by and large, consist of 3.000-4.000 steps, depending on the individual's stride. So on the off chance that you take an inactive individual and get them to add 30 minutes of strolling to their everyday schedule, they will probably get around to 10.000 steps.
The official recommendation is actually 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times a week, usually meaning a brisk walk. A general rule is that you should be somewhat short of breath while walking or have a little trouble carrying on a conversation with somebody walking close to you, for it to be considered moderate activity.
There are also various issues with aiming for the 10.000 steps per day metric, especially if you don't practice any physical activity. One of those issues is that you need to make sure to always wear a step counter (consistently and continuously) for the numbers to be precise. A small, easy to carry and to use device is always the best bet.
Just increasing your step count from 5.000 to 9.000 steps a day will probably yield significant results, despite the fact that you'll be missing the mark concerning the 10.000 steps, and a step counter helps with that.