One of the many shenanigans of 2020 was making a new hashtag popular every fortnight. But let us agree that there was no competition for #WFH (Work From Home). Till 2019, WFH was a privilege. 2020 came, wheels turned and BAM!
Although WFH remained the fancy for a few weeks, it didn’t take long before the downward effect of WFH was witnessed on the physical and mental health of people. With an increase in the sedentary lifestyle it became more imperative now than ever to stay healthy and fit. And today we have multiple workout options like crossfit, zumba, yoga and many more – you can take your pick.
But apparently walking is everyone’s favorite; no going to gym or even reaching out for your yoga mat– just step outside your house (or if I may say your comfort zone) and you are on.
Now that we are talking about walking, how can we miss out on the gold standard of 10,000 steps a day, which is pretty much on everyone’s to-do-list.
What if someone tells you that your goal of 10,000 steps is nothing but a marketing flimflam? – Startled? Well!
Here are some astonishing facts about that notification that we get everyday i.e. to walk until we accomplish the glorifying target of 10,000 steps.
It all started in Japan about 5 decades ago.
Don’t jump off your seat if we tell you that this ‘well accepted target’ did not originate as a result of years of scientific research.
Tokyo Olympics of 1964 erupted a wave of awareness amongst the Japanese population for a need to focus on fitness. By then Japan was already gulped by the vicious circle of obesity and so the idea to include some sort of exercise in the daily routines was well accepted by a larger audience.
It was roughly around that same time when a company introduced a pedometer named “Manpo-kei” which means 10,000 steps in the Japanese language. Manpo-Kei was a tiny meter to be worn around the waist that would count the number of steps walked. The heightened agility for fitness combined with the launch of this gadget started the wave of 10,000 steps a day in Japan.
Soon after, fitness experts worldwide picked up on this catchy concept. The technological advancement then made it possible for this tracker to find a place in our phones and more recently even in our wristwatches.
Does it mean that walking 10,000 steps a day does no good?
We are definitely not saying that but the point we are trying to make is that the exaggerated mantra of 10,000 steps a day is not going to solve all your health problems either.
One can refer to the study conducted by I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her study which covered about 16,000 women in their seventies, amongst other conclusions, suggests that number of steps made a difference in the longevity of these women but only up to 7,500 steps a day. After that the benefit curve flattened.
Of course, one can argue otherwise but one cannot even neglect these facts completely.
Marketing as a powerful tool proved its worth
Soon, strong marketing strategy fused with the terrific influence of social media made 10,000 steps a day the magic number for health experts across the globe.
Scientific or otherwise, no one can deny the health benefits of walking. However, the target number of steps could well differ from person to person given their age, weight, height, medical conditions and other parameters.
Bottom line is going for a walk is definitely a step closer towards a healthier lifestyle with added physiological benefits BUT whether one needs to mandatorily abide by the set norm of ‘10,000 steps a day’ – That’s upto you.
Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company
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