Most fitness tracking devices recommend taking 10,000 steps a day to stay fit, but does this statement hold up scientifically? You might have heard this number several times before, but a little digging and research will tell you that this number is based on coincidence and unclear history rather than being based on scientific truths.
But wait, where does the 10,000 number appear from?
The 10,000-step-per-day goal appears to have been inspired by a clock pedometer that was launched in Japan in 1965. The device's name was "Manpo-kei," which means "10,000 steps meter" in Japanese. This was originally intended to be a marketing tool for the device and was meant to capitalize on the interest in fitness shortly after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Games.
But it seems that the idea was embedded into people’s fitness goals to an extent that even fitness tracking devices add it as part of their daily activity goals.
However, this number, which roughly translates to five miles or about eight kilometers, is not universally appropriate for everyone. The age, gender and physical capabilities of a person may change this figure substantially.
While people may take around roughly 4000 to 6000 steps through their daily activities such as shopping, walking etc, it might be even lower in the Middle East region as most people prefer to only travel by car, even for short distances.
So should you follow the 10,000 steps a day rule?
While some studies may suggest that the target may improve heart health, mental health and lower diabetes risk, the choice of following it depends on you. For some, the number may act as a motivation to keep up their fitness routines but for some it might become an obsession and when they don’t reach the required target, they will feel unmotivated to workout.
Most importantly, if you plan on starting your fitness routine, start slowly; Be it a walking exercise or a cardio workout, take small steps and allow your body to get accustomed to the new routine; and then build on it further.
So to conclude, if this number motivates you to be more active and lead a healthy lifestyle, go for it! But remember, the end result of the 10,000 steps a day is to keep you more active and motivated, not the other way round. Track your daily steps and know the effect of your fitness routine on your body composition by using InBody Band. Keep track of your body fat, muscle mass and body fat percentage wherever you go!