10,000 Steps – Is it the magical cure?

February 5, 2023

10000 Steps. Have you done yours today? If you have, you probably congratulated yourself on a day well done. Forgive me for bursting your bubble. The metric is complete nonsense. But for some strange reason, like a bad penny it keeps coming up forcing me to write about it. An article in a leading newspaper claimed that you would reduce your cardiovascular risk if you walked between 6000-9000 steps. Is that true?

Human beings love goals. Give a man a goal or a target. Keep score! Voila, the magic begins. My son is learning a new sport. His coach did the same for him. Every time he did well he got points. Each time he didnt his points were taken away. To this extent, goals and measurements are excellent.

However, the human mind also loves limits. Once the mind hears that 6000 steps means cardiovascular health, it will set brakes and limits. Suddenly, neither do you have the motivation nor the ability to cross 6000 steps. Will you achieve cardiovascular health? Sure, maybe! If only walking 6000 steps could help achieve cardiovascular health, it would not rank as one of the top ten reasons we die.

Walking is obviously better than not. But there are many ways to walk. Taking a few hundred steps at a time to walk to the kitchen and back, for example. The slow pace, lack of exertion and cessation before you even got started is unlikely to be much help. But at the end of the day when your watch or equivalent tells you 10,000 steps, you celebrate, dont you?

I mean well! I have written about this in my book. I dont want to take away from what ever you have done. But the human body needs exertion to occur in a few ways. A long walk where you walk 15-20 kilometers. A shorter run where you run say 1-5 kilometers depending on fitness. A fast burst where you run say 100 meters but at the fastest pace you can manage a few times. Counting 10000 steps without actual effort will not do it.

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