You might be shocked to find out the whole 10,000 steps per day quota is just a successful marketing campaign.
Hey, I know that, and I still try to hit that “magic” number every day. In fact, a lot of people adhere to it. It’s almost become a golden rule.
But what does the data say?
Recent studies seem to suggest most of the benefits of walking – better heart health, lower blood pressure, healthier veins, and more – can be achieved in the 7,000–8,000 range.
There is even some data suggesting as few as 4,400 steps a day can have significant benefits over people who take only 2,700 (or less).
So, why do we stick to 10,000? The first is that it’s easy to remember. Further, more walking is certainly not harmful. So, if there isn’t a major measurable benefit for going above 8,000, it’s not hurting to get more activity. Walking is also highly accessible.
There are also benefits associated with moving for about five miles per day, which translates to around 10,000 steps per day in most adults.
So, the Japanese pedometer that introduced the “10,000 Rule” in the 60s wasn’t necessarily wrong. They may have overshot slightly, but for good reason!
Moving more is better no matter how you want to slice it. If you’re looking to hit bare minimum levels of movement per day for some benefit, shoot for about 4,400. If you want to do a little better, shoot for 8,000. If you love walking, go for 20,000.
Either way, you’re winning.
Research has shown getting between 4,400 and 12,000 steps is linked to a lower risk of dying than those who take less. So, get yourself some good walking shoes and get out there – just don’t feel like all the magic happens at 10,000. If you get 7,000, you’re good!