Jogging People

Is 10,000 Steps Right for You?

We often hear 10,000 steps as the golden number to strive for in a day.

So how can we achieve this magic number and why should we even try to increase our steps anyway?

Regular walking produces many health benefits such as slowing down mental decline, improving sleep, and reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

But Why 10,000 Steps?

The 10,000 steps concept was initially formulated in Japan in the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. However, there was no real research to support the target, instead it was a marketing strategy to sell pedometers.

Since then, many physical activity guidelines around the world – including the Australian guidelines – have recommended a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day. 30 minutes of activity corresponds to approximately 3,000 to 4,000 dedicated steps at a moderate pace.

In Australia, the average adult accumulated about 7,400 steps a day. So, an additional 3,000 to 4,000 steps through dedicated walking will get you to the 10,000-step goal.

Find What Works For You

While some people accumulate fewer steps per day – for example, older people, those with a chronic disease and office workers. Others do a lot more – for example children, athletes, and some blue-collar workers. Therefore, the 10,000-step goal may not be suitable for everyone.

Accredited Exercise Scientist, Mitchell Finn explains that while 10,000 may not be achievable for some, it is still important to try and add about 3,000 to 4,000 steps to your day. This will ensure you will have done 30 minutes of dedicated exercise each day.

“Those taking 10,000-steps or more have a 46% lower risk of early death. There are so many benefits of striving to achieve 10,000 steps each day.”

The More The Better

Many studies have shown improved health outcomes even in participants who take less than 10,000 steps.

A study found that people who took more than 5,000 steps a day had a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who took less than 5,000 steps. Each 1,000-step increase per day reduced the risk of dying prematurely of any cause by 6%.

Mitchell said that increasing steps by a little can have many health benefits such as decreasing stroke risk, improving cholesterol level, reducing stress and strengthening bones.

Get The “Right” Advice

Sign up to the 10,000 Steps program to start tracking your steps. If you need help getting started on what step goal you should achieve or if you’d like to get some professional advice specific to you, see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Exercise Scientist.

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