Is 10,000 steps a day the right fitness target for you? The answer might surprise you!
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 24, 2023
Are you one of the many people striving to reach the elusive goal of 10,000 steps per day? Well, before you lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement, let’s take a closer look at whether this target is right for everyone. From young to old, there’s a step count sweet spot for every age group. So, let’s put on our walking shoes and explore the world of step counting!
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Walking 10,000 steps per day has long been promoted as a healthy and achievable target for adults. The concept is simple – walking more is good for your health. However, it is important to ask whether this target applies to all ages. Recent research suggests that this number may not be appropriate for everyone, particularly for different age groups. Does a person’s age impact the number of steps they should aim to take each day? Let’s explore this question further.
The 10,000 steps per day recommendation was first introduced in the 1960s in Japan, as a way to increase physical activity levels and improve overall health. Since then, it has become a widely promoted target for adults around the world. However, as we age, our bodies change, and our ability to meet this target may become more challenging. There are no hard and fast rules that you have to complete exactly 10,000 steps. It just denotes a good amount of steps to reap the benefits of walking.
Also read: Simple and healthy: Walking down the stairs can be a good workout too
Benefits of walking
Walking and other forms of mobility are important for maintaining good health at any age. Regular physical activity can help to improve cardiovascular health, maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and improve mental health and cognitive function.
For older adults, walking can help to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and balance, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. For children and teenagers, walking can help to build strong bones and muscles, improve coordination and balance, and promote healthy growth and development.
Factors to consider to know the recommended step count per day
A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, found that older adults who walked at least 7,000 steps per day had a lower risk of premature death than those who walked fewer steps. However, the study also found that walking more than 10,000 steps per day did not provide any additional health benefits.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, which found that women who walked 10,000 steps per day had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who walked fewer steps. However, for men, the study found no significant difference in cardiovascular disease risk between those who walked 10,000 steps per day and those who walked fewer steps.
These findings suggest that the 10,000 steps per day recommendation may not be appropriate for all age groups. While it may be beneficial for women to aim for 10,000 steps per day, men may not see the same benefits. Additionally, older adults may not need to reach 10,000 steps per day to improve their health and longevity and might be able to get the benefits with just half the steps.
Also read: 5 ways to walk to make your daily walk more effective to slow down ageing
It’s also worth noting that physical fitness level can play a role in determining the ideal step count. A highly active person may need to walk more than 10,000 steps per day to challenge themselves and see improvements in their fitness, while someone who is sedentary may need to start with a lower step count and gradually work their way up.
Ultimately, the ideal step count will vary depending on the individual’s age, sex, and physical fitness level. It’s important to set realistic goals and to listen to your body. If you’re starting a new exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a qualified fitness professional to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your body.