Scientists Put An End To The Most Widespread Myth: 10,000 Steps A Day Is Not Crucial

A woman walking

Scientists say 10,000 steps aren't necessary. Credit: Daniel Reche/Pixabay

FOR years, we’ve been bombarded with the idea that hitting the magic number of 10,000 steps a day is the key to a healthy, active life.

However, a recent study has challenged this widely accepted unwritten rule, showing that taking fewer steps can have significant health benefits.

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology on Tuesday, August 8, analysed data from more than 225,000 adults over a seven-year period, and revealed that taking half the recommended steps (5,000 steps) is associated with a decreased risk of premature death.

Each additional 1,000 step increment translated into a risk reduction of approximately 15 per cent.

Surprisingly, the results indicated that the threshold for substantial health improvements appears to be around 4,000 steps a day.

While the idea of ​​a goal of 10,000 steps a day isn’t completely wrong, this new research offers a fresh and realistic perspective. It’s true that more movement is always beneficial, but you don’t need to obsess over hitting a specific figure every day to reap health benefits.

This study also stresses the importance of a diversity of physical activities rather than focusing solely on step counting.

From walking to doing chores or even dancing, every form of movement contributes positively to your overall well-being.

Even simply walking briskly for short periods, between 2,000 and 3,800 steps a day, has been shown to be beneficial in preventing diseases such as cancer.

The important thing is to stay active

It is crucial to understand that any activity is preferable to total inactivity. While it’s ideal to aim for 10,000 steps a day whenever possible, the key is to stay as active as possible for each individual.

Instead of obsessing over numbers, it’s more important to take a holistic approach to physical activity and wellness.

In this way, scientists demolish this myth and the 10,000 steps a day as a rigid rule is over.

While it remains a valid goal for many, this study encourages us to understand that any amount of activity is valuable to our health. Whether you’re hitting 4,000, 5,000, or 10,000 steps a day, what really matters is staying active and finding varied ways to move into your daily routine for the sake of your health.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.