You may have already heard the general health advice of walking 10,000 steps per day. Some of you might actually be obsessively checking their fitness apps and trackers feeling accomplished whenever you reach this goal. But should you walk 10,000 steps a day?
No one is saying that walking is not good for you, because it certainly is. After all, it gets you off the couch and can be classified as a light to moderate aerobic activity, depending on how fast you’re walking. So where does the 10,000 steps a day guideline come from and should we rely on it?
Should you walk 10,000 steps a day?
It seems like the 10,000 steps a day rule actually comes from Japan. Back in the 60’s, a Japanese manufacturer started selling a pedometer called “manpo-kei” which literally translates to “10,000 steps meter”. While it’s unknown why he chose this number, there was no science behind it.
Nevertheless, scientists agree less than 5,000 steps a day means you’re sedentary and you’d need to get to 8,000 steps to fit into the “somewhat active” category. However, that’s not all. Those 3k extra steps would need to be taken at a brisk pace in intervals that are not shorter than 10 minutes. As a result, you can’t just walk 8 or 10k steps call it a day, there’s some science to walking.
Interestingly, brisk walking, jogging, and running are the most effective forms of reaching your daily step goals. If you do it like this, you might get away with less than 10,000 steps. Bonus points if you use the stairs or you’re going uphill.
You might also be wondering if your smartphone or fitness tracker is actually accurate. The truth is, they are although you shouldn’t count on them for tracking calories. Most of them overestimate the calories you burn during jogging and walking.
So the question remains – should you walk 10,000 steps a day? The truth is, it’s certainly a great way to becoming more active but your fitness level can only increase so much from walking.
Even if you jog, that will improve your cardiovascular performance but in order to be truly fit you would still need to incorporate some kind of resistance exercise into your workout regimen. Speaking of, it’s rather difficult to track the calories burned from resistance workouts such as weight lifting, yoga, and pilates but it’s certainly an efficient way of improving your fitness level.
Also, it’s safe to say you may not have enough energy left in you to walk 10k steps after a heavy leg workout. Bottom line is you should try to be active in various ways and you shouldn’t rely on simply walking 10k steps a day, or feel bad when you didn’t if you opted for another form of exercise.