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10,000 steps/day? Understand why you might not need it all

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Maintaining a healthy exercise routine may require less than you think. Researchers analyzed data from four continents to verify the effectiveness of the 10,000 step goal, traditionally recommended by smart watches (smart watches like the apple watch and the Mid bandgiven Xiaomi) and health apps.

The result, with the sum of 15 studies related to the subject, is that the number could be purely marketing. According to the cross-checks, 10,000 is a very high number. The ideal is in much smaller numbers: from 6,000 steps, depending on age.

Scientists and doctors agree that a good walk is beneficial for cardiovascular health, metabolism and even mental health. But completing the 10,000 steps can be quite a challenge, especially when trying to fit in all the day’s activities.

To give you an idea, at a light walking pace on flat ground, it is possible to advance 4 km in one hour. A total of 10,000 steps – about 8 km – would take about two hours spent exercising, depending on speed and terrain.

Given this, the researchers believe that changing the standard smartwatch lens to a healthier, smaller lens will eventually encourage people to maintain more consistent walking habits, instead of not even trying for fear of l unusual goal.

Fewer steps to stay healthy

Measuring step count is a simple way to monitor how much activity a person does each day. The indicator has become even more evident with the popularization of fitness monitors, such as bracelets or smart watches.

Amanda Paluch, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts, published a survey of 2,000 middle-aged people in the United States last year. As a result, experts found that taking at least 7,000 steps reduced the risk of premature death by 50-70%.

In March this year, a meta-analysis – a statistical approach that combines the results of relevant studies – was published by Paluch, made available on the Public Health Channel The Lancet.

According to research, taking more steps per day was associated with a progressively lower risk of all-cause mortality, to a level that varied with age.

6 to 8 thousand steps

Paluch’s meta-analysis summarizes information collected from 47,471 adults from Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. The specialist crossed 15 studies analyzed between 1999 and 2018 to present the results. The project was developed in association with The Steps for Health Collaborative – an international consortium formed to determine the association between measured step volume and adult health outcomes.

They found that the 25% of adults who walked the most were 40% to 53% less likely to die. That, at least, compared to the 25% of people who had the lowest number of steps.

For people aged 60 and over, this reduced risk was achieved with a goal of 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day. This amount would be sufficient to maintain a healthy routine.

Dose-response association between steps per day and all-cause mortality, by age group - Reproduction/The Lancet - Reproduction/The Lancet

Dose-response association between steps per day and all-cause mortality by age group

Image: Reproduction/The Lancet

Mortality rates were similar for women and men. In both sexes, the lowest death rate was observed at around 7,000 to 9,000 steps per day.

The analysis also showed that there is no evidence that a person will live longer if they take the 10,000 steps required by modern apps and watches every day.

“The main finding is that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that moving a little more is beneficial, especially for those who do very little activity,” says Paluch.

Why 10 thousand steps?

It’s pure marketing strategy. In the article, Paluch explains, “While the goal of 10,000 steps per day is widely promoted as ideal for general health, it is not evidence-based, but stems from a marketing campaign in Japan. .”

To better understand, the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company bet on a marketing campaign during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964. At the time, a pedometer called “Manpo-kei” was released – in translation, this means 10,000 steps. And with that, the fashion has spread.

we were made to walk

The physiological build of the human being has adapted to include long walks in daily life. This is because the body can release heat more easily, in order to seek food and water in distant places.

According to Paluch’s article, physical activity can reduce morbidity and mortality from multiple chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Diabetes type 2 and various types of cancer.

In other words, even if the 10,000 steps are not necessary, exercise is associated with a better quality of life.

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