According to one study, walking can increase our happiness levels, while another suggests that it can also make us more productive. But as good as it is for us, like all things, it is best done in moderation. The number of steps we take is important and we have to make sure that it is not only beneficial but also an achievable task.
We are all about a healthy and active lifestyle, and we believe that walking is one of the best things we can do, as long as we do it the right way!
10,000 Steps A Day — The Result Of A Very Successful Marketing Campaign
Whether you lead a healthy lifestyle or not, you’ve probably heard that you need to walk 10,000 steps a day to be healthy. But why that exact number? Well, it looks like it comes from a Japanese pedometer, sold in 1965, called Manpo-Kei, which literally means “10,000 meters of steps.”
It spread around the world and ended up becoming everyone’s daily goal, popularized by FitBit in 2009 with the launch of its first wearable device.
It Proved To Be Too Much For People
In fact, some studies suggest that 10,000 steps may be good for some people because they can improve heart and mental health, as well as reduce the risk of diabetes.
However, the truth is that this number may be unnecessary for most people, as there is no real evidence that more steps bring more health benefits.
So if you can’t reach that daily goal, don’t be discouraged, because a much lower amount can be very beneficial to you.
Also, 10,000 steps a day is a very big goal, and many people cannot or do not have the time to achieve it. So if you consistently fail to do so, it is likely to have negative effects on you psychologically and it will be discouraging.
According to this study, British teenagers were assigned a task to achieve a certain activity goal. At first, they liked it, but then they began to complain that it was too difficult to finish and their motivation dropped.
The Optimal Number Of Recommended Steps Is A Lot Lower
10,000 has become the standard goal for both people and fitness trackers, but even walking just 4,400 steps a day is very beneficial, according to Dr. I-Min Lee.
In her study, she examines a large number of women between 62 and 101 years old. They received hip-mounted accelerometers that tracked their movements for at least 10 hours a day, for four to seven days between 2011 and 2015.
The results showed that the death rate in women who walked about 4,400 steps per day decreased by 41%, compared to those who took only 2,700 steps per day. While women who walked 7,500 steps a day reduced their mortality rate by 65%.
This shows that taking fewer steps than the standard goal is still good for us and should make it a little less difficult to achieve. And knowing that walking less is not necessarily a bad thing can have a positive psychological effect on people.
How To Easily Reach Our Daily Step Goal
The study has some limitations, according to Dr. Lee. It does not tell us how many steps we should take to improve our quality of life or prevent cognitive or physical problems.
These are the general facts that Dr. Lee discovered:
- Counting steps may seem less strenuous and more feasible than measuring exercise over time.
- Intensity doesn’t matter, every step counts.
If your life is fairly sedentary, you should consider adding 2,000 extra steps so that you can achieve at least 4,400 steps daily. Of course, you don’t have to do everything at once; instead, try to take additional measures whenever possible.
Some advice from Dr. I-Min Lee:
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park in the first empty space you see, not the one closest to the entrance.
- Get off the bus one stop before your destination.
- At home, undo your chores. Take more than one trip to bring dinner plates to the kitchen or groceries in from your car.
“These little things collectively add up,” says Dr. Lee. “Don’t be intimidated or deterred by the number 10,000.”
How active are you? And what is your favorite exercise option?