Lots of fitness “experts” and bloggers insist you should take 10,000 steps a day to lower your heart attack risk and increase your longevity.
But that notion is completely BOGUS.
In fact, a recent meta-analysis found you don’t need ANYWHERE NEAR that daily amount to support your health.
The lead researcher even said that setting the goal so ridiculously high probably does more to discourage—rather than encourage—healthy behaviors.
In a moment, I’ll tell you about the real target you should aim for. (Thankfully, it’s much more sensible and attainable. And you may already hit it each week without even thinking twice!)
But first, let’s take a “step” back to trace where the ridiculous propaganda about 10,000 steps originated from…
Marketing scheme sets activity target way too high
Walking is one of the healthiest and most underrated activities you can incorporate into your daily routine. You can do it for free…just about anywhere…at any time of year. And it helps BOOST your health!
But back in the mid-1960s, some Japanese marketers started to confound this simple, healthy pursuit…
They developed a wearable pedometer so you could obsessively track and count your every step during the day. They decided to call their new gadget Manpo-kei, which loosely translates to “10,000-steps meter” in English.
So, why did they pick 10,000 steps?
For NO REAL REASON other than the Japanese character for “10,000” looks a little like a stick-figure person walking or running! (Seriously!)
Well, as you know, the idea of tracking your daily steps and reaching a goal of 10,000 steps became all the rage over the next few decades. And by the time the hugely popular Fitbit pedometer came out in 2009, the lore was already well-established in the U.S.
The problem is…as brilliant as the original marketing campaign was…there was NO real science behind the recommendation.
Thankfully, a team of U.S. scientists recently decided to fix that oversight…
How many steps do we REALLY need each day?
For this analysis, U.S. researchers reviewed the results of seven previously published studies involving nearly 17,000 people who wore pedometers daily for about six years.
First, the researchers divided the participants into four groups depending on the average number of steps taken. Then, the researchers tracked the incidence of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.
It turns out, the participants’ cardiovascular disease risk fell as their daily number of steps increased. But there was NO magic that happened when someone reached 10,000 steps daily.
Instead, Amanda Paluch, the study’s lead researcher, said, “Don’t get caught up in 10,000 or any other number. It is not an all or nothing situation for cardiovascular health benefits. Just getting incremental increases in your steps could be meaningful in your cardiovascular health.”
Furthermore, Dr. Felipe Lobelo of Emory University said the data suggests that we should really strive to get between 5,000 and 6,000 steps per day, which equates to about 150 minutes of walking per week.
Plus, you may not realize it, but you probably take at least 2,000 steps per day just going about your routine, daily business.
Every step counts—quite literally
In the end, Dr. Paluch and her team says you shouldn’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to attain 10,000 steps each and every day. Even small improvements make a big difference to your cardiovascular health.
Here are some simple, easy ways to increase your daily steps:
- Ask colleagues to go along with you for walking meetings.
- When you’re on the phone, get up and walk around. (Preferably outside in Nature!)
- Make it a habit to stand up and walk around every hour during the day. (You can use a timer to remind you.)
- Park at the far end of the parking lot to increase the distance to your destination.
- Walk around the sidelines at your grandkids’ sporting events.
- Take the stairs, instead of the elevator. (One flight up and two flights down.)
- Take the long route to the restroom or breakroom.
- If you have a dog, walk them daily. If you don’t have a dog, consider adopting one! (More on that next time.)
As always, I encourage you to walk outside in Nature as often as possible…instead of inside on a treadmill. For one, research shows you get lots of mental, emotional, and physical benefits just by spending time in the natural world!
Plus, when you walk outside on natural surfaces, it’s easier on your joints…more challenging for your brain and muscles…and more interesting for you.
Exercising outside also exposes you to sunlight, which helps your body produce the vitamin D it needs for virtually every metabolic process and function. In addition, studies show that working out in Nature lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to many chronic diseases.
As the ancient Asian proverb says, “the longest journey begins with the first step.” Come to think of it, perhaps the Japanese makers of the pedometer had that saying in mind when they developed their product!
Of course, there are many other safe, effective, natural approaches to protecting your heart, in addition to walking each day, as I outline in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!