Researchers found that the origin of the 10,000 steps suggestion did not come from any official medical source. Lindsey Granger has the details:
Many people with activity trackers strive for 10,000 steps a day. But does it really take nearly five miles daily to make a difference in longevity?
Maybe not, says new research.
The study looked at nearly 17,000 older women — average age 72. It found that women reduced their risk of dying by 41% when they got just 4,400 steps daily compared to women who only clocked 2,700 steps. The women had additional benefit up to around 7,500 steps a day, but then the risk of dying leveled off.
“Our message is not a new message: Physical activity is good for you. What’s new and striking is how little you need to do to make a difference,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. I-Min Lee. She’s a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Lee said the researchers don’t know if the same benefits would be seen in men or younger people. But she said it’s clear that people benefit from physical activity.
The average American walks about 4,000 or 5,000 steps a day, Lee said.
Lee said the researchers aren’t sure where that 10,000-step daily goal came from. They suspect it was from a pedometer made by a Japanese company in the 1960s. The name of the device was Manpo-kei. Translated into English, that means 10,000-step meter.
To get a better idea of how much activity could make a difference in life span, the researchers looked back at a large study of older women. All wore a device that measured their activity for seven days during their waking hours. The device counted steps, and also measured the pace of each activity.