Do you really have to take 10,000 steps a day?


We can no longer count the people whose life goal seems to be to achieve a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, as if their existence depended on it. Usually equipped with a pedometer or a connected watch, they strive to trudge as soon as possible in order to achieve this quantified goal, which gives them an immense feeling of satisfaction. And the feeling that their health is worth it.

Why 10,000 steps? Was this threshold set arbitrarily, or is it the result of extensive scientific research? This is the question asked by the journalist from New York Times Gretchen Reynolds, who traced the thread to find that this number originated in 1960s Japan.

Following the Tokyo Olympics, which took place in 1964, a Japanese watch manufacturer tried to capitalize on the obsession with physical exertion drained by the event. His idea: to mass produce a pedometer whose name, written in Japanese, resembled a person walking. Now it turns out that this name can be translated by “10,000 pas-meter”. And so these ten thousand steps became a reference.

In 2019, I-Min Lee, professor of epidemiology at Harvard, led a study showing that in women in their 70s, the risk of premature death was reduced by 40% provided they took at least 4,400 steps each day. Beyond 5,000 steps, the risk fell even further. On the other hand, the study showed that for these women, there was no point in taking more than 7,500 steps per day.

What if we were satisfied with 8,000 steps?

In 2021, another study of middle-aged men and women showed that people taking 8,000 steps a day were half as likely to die prematurely (from heart disease, but not only) than those taking 8,000 steps a day. individuals taking 4,000 steps per day. Beyond 8,000 steps, the risk reduction becomes so minimal that there is indeed something to deviate from the 10,000 goal.

Add to this the existence of a Belgian study which has shown that the objective of 10,000 steps is often not kept in the long term by the people who set it. And that it is probably more reasonable and more constructive to set a less ambitious goal, but to stick to it longer.

I-Min Lee insists that a daily goal of 7,000 or 8,000 steps seems quite sufficient, especially since able-bodied and active human beings take an average of 5,000 steps per day without even thinking about it. It is therefore sufficient to add an additional effort of two or three thousand steps in order to reach this level which is beneficial for the health of each and everyone.


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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