Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymbleNeutral Bay and Balmain discuss the 10 000 steps we are all told to achieve each day. Luke, our Exercise Physiologist at our Neutral Bay location did some research on why it is that we need to be aiming for 10 000 steps a day and discusses his findings.

Interestingly, the information I came across showed that the number 10 000 actually came from a marketing campaign in Japan in 1965 by a pedometer company in Japan. It was a nice number that marketed well, but didn’t have any scientific backing behind it at the time.

A study in 2019, published in the JAMA, showed that the number of steps that made a significant change to women’s risk of death was actually 4400, when compared to only completing 2700. Interestingly, the risk of death in females continued decrease with steps above 4400, until reaching 7500 when any more steps didn’t have a reduction in risk of death.

Another study in 2020 at the University of Texas showed that if you did under 5000 steps, you ability to metabolise fats the next day was significantly reduced. If over 8500 steps were completed, metabolism of fats was improved.

Looking at this data it shows a few things. Small increases in steps from low to moderate are very beneficial, small meaning at least 2000 in the case of going from 2700 to 4400. Also a range to really be aiming for in ‘reduction in causes of death’ is 7500 and for improved fat burning is 8500. We need to remember the other benefits however of being more active, the main one being avoiding sedentary behaviour which is one of the main contributors to chronic disease and mortality.

In conclusion the science shows that a bit less than 10 000 is actually ok for our health, however 10 000 shouldn’t be discounted as a goal for weight loss and good psychological target

If aiming for a nice even figure of 10 000 makes us more active, then its a positive for our health. We also need to think of the extra positives of more steps, mainly cardiorespiratory health and improved fitness. In conclusion the science shows that a bit less than 10 000 is actually ok for our health, however 10 000 shouldn’t be discounted as a goal for weight loss and good psychological target.

References

Lee I, Shiroma EJ, Kamada M, Bassett DR, Matthews CE, Buring JE. Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(8):1105–1112. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899

BURTON, HEATH M.; COYLE, EDWARD F. Daily Step Count and Postprandial Fat Metabolism, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2021 – Volume 53 – Issue 2 – p 333-340

doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002486

Written by Luke Dorizas