Physical Activity: Do We Really Need To Take 10,000 Steps A Day?

You may have heard that you need to take at least 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. Even if this recommendation has stuck in your mind, a recent study from the University of Massachusetts has come to contradict this statement. We explain to you what the recommended number of steps is according to your age.

It is true that walking is excellent for your health

If you want to tell the truth about recommended physical activity, know that walking is an ideal activity for staying in shape. In particular, it helps you maintain a healthy weight and limit the risk of bone fracture after age 50.

Even if it is not as intense as running or cycling, walking helps to reduce by half the risk of premature death from about 6000 steps per day.

If you have a sedentary job or do very little physical activity, walking every day is one of the best resolutions you can make for your health.

It is not necessary to take 10,000 steps every day

Even so, it is not essential to reach the symbolic number of 10,000 steps per day to stay fit and healthy.

This number of steps is equivalent to about 8 km or 1 hour and 40 minutes of walking depending on your stride length and speed. This will burn between 300 and 400 calories.

That's a step count you often hear in official recommendations, but a study published by The Lancet Public Health on March 1, 2022, found that walking less is just as beneficial.

The study's authors, who are researchers at the University of Massachusetts, sought to establish a link between the number of steps taken each day and all-cause mortality.

They compiled data on tens of thousands of people over the age of 18 on several continents and came to the conclusion that the oft-repeated 10,000 steps mantra is not the ideal number.

Taking 6,000 steps a day is good enough

This study challenges a deeply held belief. According to the researchers from the University of Massachusetts, the number of daily steps to take would be closer to 6000 steps per day than to 10,000.

They also point out that the 10,000 steps per day recommendation has no real scientific basis, as it would have been popularized by a marketing campaign carried out in the mid 1960s for a Japanese pedometer!

How much should you walk each day?

Even though the 10,000 steps per day recommendation is false, it is advisable to walk every day. Keep in mind that the number of steps you should take depends on your age, which is common sense since a person over 60 years old does not have the same energy as someone in their 30s.

According to the study, for those 60 and older, the risk of premature death stabilizes 'at about 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.' This means that taking more steps provides no additional benefit to health or longevity in older people.

For those under 60 years of age, the risk of premature death stabilizes 'at about 8000 to 10000 steps per day. So that's the number of steps to recommend for young adults.

How can the findings of this study be put into practice?

If you want to use the findings of this study to increase your daily physical activity, start by getting a pedometer or installing an app that counts your steps on your smartphone.

This type of tool will allow you to measure the number of steps you usually take, but not only that! Counting your steps is also a good way to motivate yourself to walk more each day.

As for what pace to take, remember another finding from this study: the speed of walking doesn't matter. The key to a better life expectancy is to walk every day, at your own pace.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Tags: physical activity, Massachusetts, HEALTH, Pedometer, marketing, Japanese, common sense, energy, Longevity, APP, Smartphone, mantra, mortality, Lancet Public Health, truth, Ideal, bone fracture, sedentary, resolutions, 40 minutes, stride length, calories, life expectancy,
In French: Activité physique : faut-il vraiment faire 10000 pas par jour ?
En español: Actividad física: ¿es realmente necesario dar 10.000 pasos al día?
In italiano: Attività fisica: è davvero necessario fare 10.000 passi al giorno?
Auf Deutsch: Körperliche Aktivität: Müssen wir wirklich 10.000 Schritte am Tag machen?
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