We all know we need to get fitter! As a result, many of us are turning to wearable devices such as Fitbit, in an effort to become healthier.
Although this is a step in the right direction, once you put on your device, it can come as a shock.
According to the Fitbit and Jawbone settings, 10,000 steps a day is the default activity goal we should be aiming for. Most other fitness devices are set at the same figure.
Wearing your fitness tracker may be a step in the right direction but it leaves you with 9,999 steps to go!
How did these fitness trackers come up with this figure?
Catrine Tudor-Locke, an associate professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre at Louisiana State University believes that the concept of 10,000 steps originated in Japan in the run-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when Olympic fever swept the nation.
The Japanese public went mad for sport and fitness and pedometers became a craze. One company bought out a device called Manpo Kei, which means 10,000-step meter.
It seems that the latest brand of fitness devices have simply followed this lead and now this 10, 000 step figure has become a benchmark of daily activity levels and fitness around the world.
The average person with a stride of around 2.5ft will get 5 miles in 10,000 steps.
It does depend on your height – if you have short legs for example, you will not get to this distance. In addition, the fitness trackers do not only mention steps but movement so if you tie your laces or carry out a similar activity, it will register as a step.
That said, according to health experts, 10,000 steps is a good basic target but it is not the only way to improve your health.
The UK National Obesity Forum says that a person who walks between 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day qualifies as “moderately active,” so most people will need to increase the amount of exercise they do in order to keep fit.
If this is not measured by steps, you can ensure you do 150 minutes of exercise each week. That sounds a lot to most people but will provide the same benefits. If for example you swim regularly you may be down on your daily steps but your fitness benefits should be equal.
10,000 steps is a good target and is snappy but like the concept of “five a day” it is not written in stone.
Health experts agree that the figure is in the right ballpark for most people but it is important not to become fixated on numbers. More exercise is always good so if you find you exceed 10, 000 steps most days set your target a little higher. And if you regularly take less steps than 10,000 but are generally active in other ways, perhaps you should not worry too much.
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