Science is normally backed up by numbers, and sometimes we turn to science in order to figure out how to stay healthy.
Drink eight glasses of water a day, or adults need only six hours of ample sleep are only some of age-old rules we follow (or at least try to) without really thinking about how they came to be. There’s also the popular notion that taking 10,000 steps a day is the bare minimum for adults to stay healty.
But before you download that shiny new fitness tracker app on your iPhone, let’s stop to think about the central question: do you really need to make all those steps?
According to fitness and diet expert Laura Williams, walking 10,000 steps a day definitely doesn’t hurt, but it is by no means a gold standard. It’s all relative. "If you run three times a week, you're not going to get fitter by walking 10,000 steps," says Laura. In other words, 5,000 or even 3,000 steps daily can be hugely beneficial for someone who sits behind an office desk eight hours a day.
The concept of the 10,000-step figure was actually the result of a Japanese marketing campaign dating back to the 60s. A company called Yamasa Tokei released Manpokei, a pedometer, during the Tokyo Olympics phenomenon. The product name literally translates to “the 10,000 step meter” and so, an idea was born.
So is taking 10,000 steps a day plus downloading an iPhone fitness app really necessary? It won’t do you any harm, sure, but regular exercise is still key to keeping fit and healthy all the way.