That's right, this long-established walking standard -- which roughly translates to five miles -- is not founded in exercise physiology or medical science. It came about 50 years ago because in Japan, where it originated, the number simply helped sell product.
Ten thousand "is a very auspicious number" in Japan, Harvard University Japanese Studies professor Theodore Bestor told Health.com. "That is, it seems likely to me that the 10,000 steps goal was subsidiary to having a good-sounding name for marketing purposes."
What was being marketed? A fancy new Japanese pedometer that hit store shelves shortly before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.So, if I understand this correctly: to sell pedometers, some Japanese marketing person came up with this 10,000 steps idea. Because it would appeal to the Japanese people.
Does this sound familiar at all? Like, how we get into all kinds of things that aren't even necessarily helpful, let alone good for us, because some marketer figured out a way to sell it to us?
Yet I'm still doing it, aiming for 10,000 steps a day, even though I read this article a few weeks ago.
It's a good goal to aim for, though, unless you're starting out from a completely sedentary place. Any movement at all, above and beyond the 6,000 steps an average American supposedly takes every day, will be good for your health. More from the article:
You just need to get moving. The best number for you might be significantly lower than 10,000 -- you should consult your doctor.I love that last bit: "Fitbit" is what we call pedometers these days!
Which doesn't mean 10,000 steps isn't a worthy goal, if you're up for it. It may be somewhat arbitrary, but it caught on. As a result, it's been studied and, Humana.com writes, "found to have significant health benefits." And it's not an unrealistic goal for many of us. The average American walks about 6,000 steps per day, which means that if you're average, exercise-wise, you're already more than halfway there and doing pretty good already. So strap on your fitbit -- that's what we call pedometers these days -- and get going.