Lhe goal of 10,000 steps per day dates back to the launch of a pedometer created by the Japanese company Yamasa Clock, in 1965. The device in question was called “Manpo-kei”, which can be translated as “foot counter. 10,000 steps ”.
While it was in fact a marketing tool to better sell the pedometer, this idea of 10,000 steps has imposed itself around the world as the daily target to be reached. It’s even now preprogrammed as a daily distance to travel in some smartwatches like Fitbit.
Since then, researchers have been interested in this objective of 10,000 steps per day. Some studies have shown that walking at least 10,000 steps a day improves cardiovascular health, mental health, and even reduces the risk of diabetes. That may, to some extent, explain why we have adopted this arbitrary number widely.
In ancient Rome, distances were measured by counting steps. By the way, the word “thousand”, a unit of measurement of distance in the imperial system, is derived from the Latin expression mila passum, which means 1000 steps.
A normal person takes about 100 steps per minute – which means it takes just under 30 minutes to walk a mile (or 1.6 km). Thus, to reach the goal of 10,000 steps, one would have to walk between four and five miles per day (the equivalent of 6 to 8 km), which represents approximately two hours of activity.
But while some research has shown health benefits of taking 10,000 steps, other recent studies from Harvard Medical School have shown that 4,400 steps per day is enough to significantly improve life expectancy in women. .
The Harvard study participants were followed for just over four years. The death rate among those who took an average of 4,400 steps per day was significantly lower than that of less active women whose daily step count was around 2,700 steps. The mortality rate in the group gradually declined as the number of steps increased, leveling off at 7,500 steps per day. No additional benefit was found beyond this number.
Although it should be verified whether similar results would be seen in men, this study shows that moving a little more each day can actually improve health and reduce the risk of death.