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Stepping towards a healthier future

5 April 2017

10,000 steps has often been bandied around as the ideal daily exercise goal but where did this number come from? Interestingly enough, it started back in the 1960s when a Japanese company developed a marketing campaign to sell pedometers that included a 10,000 step goal to motivate people. It promptly gained popularity amongst walking groups and soon became the standard for daily steps. Today, the vast majority of activity trackers are automatically set up with a goal of 10,000 steps, requiring the average user to log around 30 minutes of daily exercise. This is in line with the World Health Organization recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise per week.

Despite the development of elevators, escalators and moving walkways for those who may find it difficult to get around, it seems many of us who are able to negotiate stairs with ease are inadvertently attracted to using these labour-saving devices. The follow-on impact is a reduction in opportunities for incidental exercise and therefore, our overall physical activity levels. Fitness trackers allow us to our review our activity levels at any given time-point in the day and take action to increase our efforts as necessary. Along with encouraging us to move, they can also serve as a strong motivator to change our daily habits. By doing somehting as simple as taking the stairs or walking to the shops instead of driving, our health can reap the benefits.

Whether or not your fitness goal is to lose weight, maintain your health or recover from an injury – 10,000 steps may not be the most appropriate number for you. This number should be adjusted to suit your needs and if necessary, discussed with a health professional. However, what is clear is that increasing the time spent walking can undoubtedly be beneficial to our health and wellbeing. There are vast numbers of studies extolling the benefits of walking, which can include:

  • Boosting energy levels and immune function
  • Assisting in the management of depression
  • Improving mood and confidence
  • Decreasing the incidence of cardiovascular disease
  • Protecting against peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, colon cancer
  • Lowering triglyceride levels
  • Preventing the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis
  • Strengthening muscles and;Slowing mental decline and lowering the Alzheimer’s risk

Best of all – it’s free! Walking doesn’t require any special skills or equipment and is well tolerated by those with co-morbidities that preclude other more strenuous exercise modalities. So do yourself and your health a favour, go for a walk today.

Emeritus Research is a dedicated Clinical Research Centre based in Melbourne, Australia. We conduct clinical trials from Phase Ib to Phase IV in a range of areas that encompass two therapeutic area pillars – inflammatory conditions and lifestyle diseases.