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Surprising Information About the 10,000-Step Target

By Sandy Schroeder

I have always bought into the prescription for health to take 10,000 steps daily, but there appears to be more to the story, according to WellAndGood.com.

They say that number actually came from a Japanese walking club in the 1960s who were selling a tool called "10,000 steps meter."  Then the number took wing as pedometer companies promoted it, but it has no scientific support.

University of Massachusetts postdoctoral researcher, Elroy Aguiar, PhD said, "This 10,000 steps number came out of nowhere. They knew people usually do around 6,000 steps a day and they just set an arbitrary target of 10,000 as a stimulus."

So What Is a Good Target?

The number may have taken root, but at what point do health benefits really occur? The President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition says adults should do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week, and 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise to get "substantial health benefits." That translates into 7,000 to 8,000 steps daily, according to the researchers.

If you are already doing 10,000 steps that is fine, but Dr. Aguiar says the more typical 5,000- to 6,000-step range may be more real.

How Do Steps Fit With Workouts?

There are a lot of choices when you want to fit steps into your workout.

You really can do your own mix - If you are running at the gym or doing weightlifting and you are close to the 6,000-step mark, you may be just fine.

Intensity counts too - Part of the benefit shows up in moderate versus vigorous walking, too. Obviously the impact of 7,500 running steps is different than 7,500 normal pace steps. Research is currently assessing this.

Design your own formula - If you don't have the time to do 6,000 steps a day, the intensity of a spin class might be a good choice.

Set an achievable goal - The researchers said 7,500 steps is a good working target, but the right number is the one you can comfortably do, which will keep you engaged.

Set Wise Targets

Having specific goals makes a lot of health sense, but actual steps become a very individual matter. It is really all about you. If you are parked at a desk all day, 6,000 steps may seem like a lot, but walking less than 5,000 steps is considered to be sedentary. That might be where the spin class could come in to up the effort.

If weight is the issue, it may really take as much as 15,000 daily steps to boost metabolism and get results. Overall, It may take a little effort to dial in your step target, but the results may be well worth it. When you fix the achievable number and make it happen day after day, you are bound to get results.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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