10,000 Steps Is Bullshit

More exercise is better than less, but other than that, there is nothing special about taking 10,000 steps every day.

This goal may have started with the popular Japanese pedometer of the 1960s called manpo-kei , a “10,000 step counter.” It was just a catchy name, but it stuck because it’s a good goal, at least for some of us. 10,000 steps is roughly five miles – difficult but not impossible to fit into a busy day.

Once the number became common knowledge, it became the generally accepted benchmark in exercise and health research. If you are comparing two numbers of step counts, why not do one of them 10,000? But as reported by the Guardian , this makes the 10,000 steps look like something special, when in fact any large enough number would have worked.

Even if you do all of your exercises by walking, you can follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines in just 20-30 minutes. Add that to the number of steps you take in your normal sedentary life and you get about 7,500 steps.

So how many steps do you really need? If you live in a city and walk everywhere, 10,000 might be a breeze for you. You have many steps, but if you can work even harder, you will be much better. Think you can make 15,000? Take action!

But if for some reason you find it difficult to reach 10,000, go into the settings of any app that tracks your steps and set up a goal. Not that you want to relax, but it might motivate you to see a goal that’s within reach – not a number that’s only displayed on your screen, because some ad executive half a century ago thought it sounded smart.


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