10k Steps/day – does it have a scientific rationale?

Health Benefits plateau after 4400-7500 steps/day

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2734709

Do you really need to complete 10,000 steps per day? Does it have a scientific rationale or it was just another well marketed campaign by pedometer companies?

Well, a recent large scale study of >16,000 women was done to know the above answers. I-Min Lee of Brigham & Womens Hospital says that 10k steps/day was not scientifically determined and hence decided to challenge the dogma. What emerged from the study are some interesting facts as we see below:

  1. Women who averaged > 4400 steps/day had significantly lower mortality rates during a follow-up of 4.3 years (compared to women who took < 2700 steps/day)
  2. However, the benefits with increased steps plateaued at approximately 7500 steps/day
  3. Stepping intensity was NOT clearly related to lower mortality rates after accounting for total steps per day

The origin of 10k steps per day goal was likely derived from a Japanese pedometer sold in 1965 by Yamasa Clock & instrument company called “Manpo-Kei” (which means 10,000 steps meter in Japanese) As there are so many fitness trackers & watches available – the validity of steps tracked by each wearable or device also becomes crucial. One of the study done to compare the steps tracked by each device (Actigraph vs Fitbit Zip vs Fit Bit Charge) showed that the steps varied 7400, 8100 & 8200 respectively.

Another randomized clinical trial called NAVIGATOR (which was done to test treatment of nateglinide & valsartan for reduction of cardiovascualr events) measured daily steps as part of its protocol. The published findings showed that for every additional 2000 steps/day the risk of developing cardiovascular events decreased by 10%, diabetes by 5.5% & metabolic syndrome risk score by 0.29

The top 3 most gifted fitness trackers in the US while writing this blog are:

  1. Fitbit Charge 2
  2. Garmin Vivofit 3
  3. Apple Watch Series 3

In case, you are finding difficult to hit the 10,000 steps mark everyday, don’t worry & try to hit at least 4,400 steps and continue with light activities. While the long standing guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week is a standard recommendation from the health authorities DO NOT fret about not hitting the 10,000 steps mark – its just another number!

How many steps do you achieve everyday? Click here https://twitter.com/drsatishsj/status/1135425632949506050?s=09

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