The Science Behind 10,000 Steps
If you have ever looked into increasing your activity, to improve health and wellness then you have no doubt come across the famous benchmark of achieving 10,000 steps a day.
Why this number?
Today we will be taking a look into this figure, the reasons behind it and the science behind the method.
Where did the figure come from?
Actually it came from Japan in the 60’s. It was a Marketing Campaign in order to get the Japanese people to become more active around the time of the Tokyo Olympics. It centred around a device called a Manpo-Kei! In Japense, Man translates to 10,000, “po” means steps and “kei” mean meter so the device was solely based around the idea of counting 10,000 steps.
The science behind the number itself was down to the average number of calories it would burn upon achieving 10,000 steps which equated to around 300-400 calories.
Simply put the number was a target to achieve in order to increase overall physical activity each day, which as we know, is a great way to improve health and wellness in general.
Does it work?
Simply put, yes it can work, however as with many things in health and performance, the classic “It Depends” phrase remains supreme.
For example; If your activity level is currently at a level where you are completing 2,000 steps a day, and you then commence on the journey of completing 10,000 steps a day (burning 300-400 more calories a day) of course you will start to see the benefits. It is an easy way to increase physical activity if you perform no other movement.
Is there a better way?
In one example, to put the 10,000 theory to the test, very recently, the BBC conducted a study where by they had a group of individuals complete 10,000 steps a day and compare the results against another physical activity movement called “Active 10”. The premise behind “active 10” is instead of a target number of steps it is completing three, 10 minute brisk walks a day.
When they looked at the results, two out of the three asked to do 10,000 steps had managed to hit their target. But they had all struggled.
The Active 10 group, on the other hand, had found it relatively easy.
So 10,000 steps was harder to achieve – but which method was better based on the results?
The “Active 10” group actually did 30% more ‘moderate to vigorous activity’ than the 10,000-step group, even though they moved for less time.
Either way, if you currently aren’t getting near 10,000 steps or moving for three 10 minute periods a day then you will feel the benefits of either method!
The best way to see what works best for you is to try out both methods for a period. For three weeks try 10,000 steps and then try the “Active 10” method and compare the two, on how you feel and what you were able to achieve!