Is the 10,000 steps a day target the right currency for people to be focused on?
For a long time now, the thought and guidance has been that 10,000 steps a day is the necessary goal to achieve to hit the recommended amount of daily exercise. It is a fantastic tool to engage people who are daunted by fitness centers or need an achievable goal to aim for. However, in 2018, the question was raised again about the actual value of 10,000 steps and what it means.
The outcome — again, as this often comes into the media spotlight — is the World Health Organization and the American Heart Foundation have also, over time, adopted the 10,000 steps a day recommendation. However, according to the World Health Organization, 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity per week is the recommended guideline to follow for healthy living.
While the 10,000 steps a day goal falls into this category, it does not mean achieving those steps through activities such as window shopping or normal every day walking is as beneficial as a brisk, 30-minute walk strictly for exercise.
Early in 2018, Mike Brannan, the national health lead for physical activity at Public Health England, hit the headlines by declaring, “There’s no health guidance that exists to back the 10,000 steps per day goal.”
Various companies are now looking at other avenues to help people focus on activity and movement. For example, most smartphones today are equipped with a pedometer tool that does more than just counting steps, but also calculates all incidental movement delivered for a continuous period.
If people are looking to become active but are not ready to measure in at any greater depth at that time, this serves as an ideal transition to increase awareness of activity and a good starting path for exercise beginners. The bottom line is although 10,000 steps is not a magic number and using a step counter doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose weight or become healthier, using a tool such as a pedometer can be the beginning of a healthy lifestyle change.
So, the conversion will continue, as more and more of the general public seek to find ways to add some activity into their busy lives. At the end of the day, if this 10,000 number serves as a daily target for people helping to encourage them to move more, then surely that is a great thing, and the conversion to completing this fundamentally can act as a catalyst to improved health.
Gemma Bonnett-Kolakowska, MCIM, has nearly 20 years of experience in the fitness industry having worked both as an operator, and for the past six years, in the commercial supplier market. Gemma has previously worked for Matrix Fitness as the director of strategic marketing EMEA, and in 2017, moved to Myzone, where she has led the rebrand and forms part of the senior team, developing the product offering and positioning Myzone as the go-to wearable heart rate solution for the industry.