Why 10,000 steps a day?

Daily routines are important and when done consistently are the foundations of long lasting wellness and health.  You know things like – Make your bed in the morning, brush your teeth twice a day and get 10,000 steps in a day… wait what?

If, like me, your idea of hard work is deciding which flavour of crisps to have in your pack lunch then the idea of 10,000 steps daily may seem a little far fetched.  I mean where does this number even come from?

A brief history of 10,000 steps

As humans we have evolved from hunter gatherers, to coach potatoes at a pretty rapid rate. We would have covered many miles and had jobs that required much more activity than our current lifestyle and so though we can know how much work is optimal for the human body we can agree that we need more movement.

But the 10,000 steps figure is actually not a scientific guess rather than a marketing campaign. Shortly, before the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. A company began selling a pedometer called the Manpo-kei.  Broken down the name means – Man (10,000), po (Steps) and kei (Meter).

This was hugely successful and from it the 10,000 step marker was set.  Since then the emergence of smart watches and the pedometers in those have all taken the 10,000 steps as a magic number we all should follow for fitness but what are the pros and cons of this decision?

Pro – It encourages movement

Simply getting outside and moving has a tonne of benefits including higher metabolism, better cardiovascular health and getting in the old Vitamin D.  All of which will make you fitter, leaner and have a better quality of life.

Con – Its increases stress and disappointment

Having a target for some is a good thing, but for most it serves as a reminder they have failed another task that day.  If the target is 10,000 steps and you did 7,300 that day you won’t see the good of doing those 7,300 steps, you’ll concentrate on the 2,700 steps you didn’t do, and that is human nature.

Better mindset – Move daily for 30+ minutes

Movement is a spectrum of all things that get you off the sofa and doing stuff.  It might be a walk around the block, going for a bike ride, doing yoga or chasing the ice cream truck music around your housing estate.

If you can get in 30 minutes or more of active movement you will not only gain many benefits of the 10,000 step marker, you’ll probably exceed it.  When you do this, you don’t have to hit any targets or worry about what you haven’t done, instead you can bask in the glory of just doing something every day.

That’s not to say hitting targets and improving isn’t important, but the mindset of looking at the bigger picture and chalking off daily wins will lead you to a happier and healthier you.  So put that pedometer away and start moving with purpose, oh and I’ll have a 99 with a flake when you find that ice cream van.

Now go get the day!