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Health Check: do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day?

The following article, written by Corneel Vandelanotte, Kerry Mummery, Mitch Duncan, and Wendy Brown, was originally published in The Conversation on February 6th, 2019. You can read the original article here. Regular walking produces many health benefits, including reducing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression. Best of all, it’s free, we can do it anywhere and, for most of us, it’s relatively easy to fit into our daily routines. We often hear 10,000 as the golden number of steps to strive for in a day. But do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day? Not necessarily. This figure was originally popularised as part of a marketing campaign, and has been subject to some criticism. But if it gets you walking more, it might be a good goal to work towards. Where did 10,000 come from? The 10,000 steps concept was initially formulated in Japan in the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There was no real evidence to support this target. Rather, it was a marketing strategy to sell step counters. There was very little interest in the idea until the turn of the century, when the concept was revisited by Australian health promotion researchers in 2001 to encourage people to be more active. Based on…

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