WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new study has found that getting to just 5,000 steps can lower mortality rates in older women.
- Reaching 7,500 steps or above also lowered mortality rates but reaching 10,000 steps had no added benefit.
- The 10,000-steps-a-day prescription actually has no scientific basis — it was advertised by a 1960s Japanese marketing campaign of the early pedometer.
Are you one of the people who strive to walk 10,000 steps a day? If so, have you ever felt guilty when you don’t achieve it?
Well, a new study from Harvard Medical School shows that you can get the same health benefits in fewer steps.
According to the study, getting to just 5,000 steps can decrease the risk of early deaths in older women.
But the benefits fizzle out after around 7,500 steps, which renders those extra 2,500 steps futile.
“People are hung up on the 10,000 number. They diligently try to get that number because it’s conventional wisdom, but it’s fun to question conventional wisdom,” co-author I-Min Lee, an epidemiologist in the preventive medicine division at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, tells The Post.
The study observed 16,741 women of ages 62 to 101 for four years. To measure their step count, the women wore trackers during their daily activities for at least seven consecutive days. They also reported on their medical histories, lifestyle, and diet. During the four-year period, 504 of the women passed away.
The research showed that women who walked about 4,400 steps a day had significantly lower mortality rates than those who took about half as many.
Those who reached 7,500 steps or above also had lower mortality rates, but no added benefit was observed when hitting 10,000 steps.
Lee remarked, “For the people who do nothing at all, the goal is modest. Even if you take 2,000 more steps, you will live longer if you step more. People who want to do more are better off, but the benefit seems to level off at 7,500.”
Lee also pointed out that the 10,000-steps-a-day prescription has no scientific basis. The hefty figure was advertised in a 1960s Japanese campaign of the early pedometer.
The device was called a “manpo-kei.” Translated from Japanese, “man” means 10,000, “po” means steps, and “kei” means meter. Its name itself meant the “10,000-steps meter.”
That campaign has become a fitness gospel!
The study, which was first published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine, only considered mortality rates and not the quality of life, so there’s still further research to be done.
Lee remarked that being able to “get significant health benefits with less steps” is quite encouraging. But Lee does not discourage anyone from doing some extra mileage: “If you do 10,000 steps, then more power to you.”
Source: New York Post