If you've ever strapped on a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or pretty much any other activity tracker, you know that 10,000 steps is the default goal that's already set up when you turn it on. You’ve probably heard health experts echo this number, too. Whether you're stats and figures obsessed or not, it’s true that your step count can give you a good idea of how much you moved on any given day—not to mention, breezing past that 10,000-step baseline has become something of a badge of honor.
We may have a new number to compete against, though. Fitness pros have been citing 12,000 steps as a new target, which begs the question: Is 10,000 steps just not good enough anymore? Here's what you need…
The 10,000 steps concept was initially formulated in Japan in the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There was no real evidence to support this target. Rather, it was a marketing strategy to sell step counters. There was very little interest in the idea until the turn of the century, when the concept was revisited by Australian health promotion researchers in 2001 to encourage people to be more active.
I-Min Lee gives us the story behind the mysterious fitness benchmark.
A clever bit of marketing has obscured the more nuanced nature of human well-being.
earing a fitness tracker, are you? Eager to get your 10,000 steps today, are you? You idiot. Those things are useless.
Our aim was to do a small experiment in which we would compare the benefits and ease of doing 10,000 steps against something called, "Active 10".
With Active 10 you don't need to count steps. You simply aim to do three brisk 10-minute walks a day.
10,000 steps a day has become the gold standard for many people. That number has sold many step-counting devices and inspired interoffice competitions. But it’s a big number that can be hard to reach. When people continue to not hit five digits, eventually some ditch the effort altogether.
ven far eclipsing 10K steps didn't prevent weight gain for college freshmen studied.
There's nothing magical about the number 10,000.
In fact, the idea of walking at least 10,000 steps a day for health goes back decades to a marketing campaign launched in Japan to promote a pedometer. And, in subsequent years, it was adopted in the U.S. as a goal to promote good health. It's often the default setting on fitness trackers, but what's it really based on?
Trackers at the ready! We're all tallying up our activity these days but do you really need to log 10,000 steps to stay healthy?
People who walked 6,000 steps a day on average were less likely to have problems standing, walking and climbing stairs two years later, the researchers found. Each 1,000 steps added to a person's day reduced their risk of mobility loss by 16 to 18 percent.
Now it's time to discuss if you should do this. And if I am being honest, you should. Throughout this challenge I realized how lazy my friends and I were. I had no idea how much we complained about walking until I started walking every day.
10,000 steps is the number that’s advertised everywhere, mostly because it’s a nice, round number. It doesn’t have to be the same for you. You could shoot for 9,000, 11,000, 7,000 or 15,000.
Maybe your legs are short. Or you’re a runner. Maybe you have knee problems.
Apple's Health app underestimates your daily step count by up to 21 percent.
10,000 steps a day is a trendy goal. We humans like big, round numbers like that. They feel right.
But does taking 10,000 steps a day really have anything to do with good health?
While there’s no doubt it’s a healthy idea to walk more, the question on many people’s mind is how effective is walking 10,000 steps for weight loss? For many, the hope is that by walking 10,000 daily steps they can make meaningful changes in your body composition and lose body fat. What does the science say? Let’s find out.
No matter what you're reaching for, though, the bottom line is to make sure you're getting active. And while 10,000 or 12,000 are both great step counts to shoot for, they're just goals—not magic numbers.
Run by the team at CQUniversity Australia since 2001, we're providing a free program to help you challenge yourself, friends and workmates to move more every day.