In Defense of Ten Thousand Steps

I know perfectly well that those 10,000 steps the fitness trackers push is a fake goal.  Know where it comes from? 

Back in the sixties, a company in Japan was trying to sell pedometers.  10,000 is an auspicious number in the Japanese culture.

Boom, there’s the genesis of the 10,000-step goal right there.

It’s also fashionable lately for articles to talk about this and how 10,000 Steps isn’t a scientifically-based metric for good physical fitness.

Know what?  They’re right.  It’s not.  It’s not based on any science at all.

Know what else?

I don’t care.

Measurable goals can be useful.  I know of one person who never, and I mean never misses her daily walk of about 40 minutes (give or take).  Like, never ever misses it.  She doesn’t because she has a fitness tracker that gives her a measurable goal. She can see every day whether or not she took that walk.

And you know what else?  Getting in well over 250 exercise minutes a week is absolutely a health benefit based on scientific research.

So yeah, those 10,000 steps are arbitrary.  However, most people who make a specific effort to get in that many steps are probably taking in a few nice walks every week to hit that goal.

That, my friends, is not so arbitrary.

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