Is your goal of 10,000 steps built on sound science? The Guardian challenges the Fitbit industry.
10,000 steps. If you have used a pedometer that counts how many steps you walked that day, you are familiar with this daily goal. An entire industry has been built on the idea that taking 10,000 steps will keep you in good health and improve your cardiovascular system.
Fitbit took the idea and built an entire business model and of course, they had a number of imitators doing the same thing using phones and smartwatches. Fortune 500 companies also embraced the idea with the goal of having fewer healthcare claims if their workforce was healthier from walking, taking the stairs, and doing other fitness-related activities.
According to The Guardian, “10,000 steps is a completely arbitrary figure, one that originates from a successful Japanese marketing campaign in the mid-60s. In an attempt to capitalize on the immense popularity of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the company Yamasa designed the world’s first wearable step-counter, a device called a manpo-kei, which translates as “10,000-step meter”.”
Check out this interesting article regarding how the idea behind 10,000 came about and what science says about walking this amount.
Watch your step: why the 10,000 daily goal is built on bad science
David Cox Mon 3 Sep 2018
In recent years, the 10,000-steps-a-day regime has become entrenched in popular culture. You can barely walk down the street without someone stomping past you wearing a FitBit; when Jeremy Hunt was health secretary, he was often pictured with his poking out from his shirtsleeves. It has become a global obsession: the research firm Gartner recently estimated that by 2020 there will be 500m wearables adorning consumers across the world.
This is all despite the fact that 10,000 steps is a completely arbitrary figure, one that originates from a successful Japanese marketing campaign in the mid-60s. In an attempt to capitalise on the immense popularity of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the company Yamasa designed the world’s first wearable step-counter, a device called a manpo-kei, which translates as “10,000-step meter”.
Recently, the NY Times also weighed in on this idea and found that there were significant gains in fitness and cardiovascular health with as little as 4400 steps. Check out their findings below
Do We Really Need to Take 10,000 Steps a Day for Our Health?
The advice that we take 10,000 steps a day is more a marketing accident than based on science. Taking far fewer may have notable benefits.
By Gretchen Reynolds July 6, 2021
Fitness tracking devices often recommend we take 10,000 steps a day. But the goal of taking 10,000 steps, which many of us believe is rooted in science, in fact rests on coincidence and sticky history rather than research.
According to Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an expert on step counts and health, the 10,000-steps target became popular in Japan in the 1960s. A clockmaker, hoping to capitalize on interest in fitness after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, mass-produced a pedometer with a name that, when written in Japanese characters, resembled a walking man. It also translated as “10,000-steps meter,” creating a walking aim that, through the decades, somehow became embedded in our global consciousness — and fitness trackers.