For years, experts have been telling us that (1) the average person walks 10,000 steps a day, and (2) walking 10,000 steps a day is perfect for losing weight. Recent research finds both statements to actually be false.
The entire television series, such as the 26th season of the successful American series The Amazing Race, have been organized around the idea of using devices such as a pedometer, or a Fitbit, to keep track of physical activity. When ideas that most people are physically active as if they walked 10,000 steps a day and the fittest physically active were put to the test, however, the researchers got shocking results.
Where did the experts get the idea that we should all exercise more?
- For nearly 60 years, doctors have been telling us that physical activity is good to health. In 1953, Scottish epidemiologist Jeremias Morris noted that ticket collectors on two-story buses were 50 percent less likely than bus drivers to have heart attacks.
- The difference in the two jobs was that the reviewer had to climb on average about 600 steps per day. For Dr. Morris, the exercise had to make a difference. In the 1960s, when the United States foresaw another war, with the Soviet Union, the United States government was anxious to make sure the youth remained in shape…
- In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson created national awards for physical fitness, and in 1968 Dr. Kenneth Cooper, formerly an aptitude expert for the US Air Force, invented the term “aerobics.” International standards Took some time to catch up. In 1996, the World Health Organization announced that, globally, 6 percent of all deaths were associated with lack of exercise.
What doctors, patients and people writing health articles did not realize was that the World Health Organization was actually say that if everyone exercised, it would very likely that there would be 6 percent Less deaths per year. This was not the same as saying that your risk of death will be 6 percent higher if you do not exercise.
How did the experts turn up the figure of 10,000 steps per day?
Researchers have also been on the calculation of the amount of exercise , on average across the population. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control also decreed that:
- Children should be given one hour of physical activity each day.
- Adults should receive 5 hours of moderate exercise per week, such as brisk walking for maximum benefits, or at least 2 and 1/2 hours of moderate exercise per week for measurable health benefits. Practicing “intense” exercise reduces the time requirement in half.
- A study of adults in the obesity-prone states of Louisiana and Mississippi in the United States found that 9,154 steps a day would equal a half hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity…
- From this the experts concluded that sedentary people take about 7,500 steps per day or less and active people more than 10,000 steps per day. It did not hurt that at the time the recommendation was made, the most readily available pedometer was made in Japan, and calibrated to tell people precisely when they had walked the 10,000 steps in a single day.
All these figures, of course, are completely arbitrary. That’s not to say it’s not a good idea to walk 10,000 steps a day. It just means that the recommendation to walk 10,000 steps a day is a good estimate. Or at least it was. Modern technology makes measurement much easier, and a recent study puts the figure of 10,000 steps a day in doubt.
Modern activity and fitness monitors go way beyond the pedometer
At Stanford University, a team of researchers conducted a series of tests to find out how to do away with valid decades-old recommendations for physical activity actually.
In the study they had elite athletes putting on fitness bands, pulse trackers, and heart rate monitors, along with oxygen masks, before playing basketball.
Researchers want to know if the activity monitored by sporting goods that you can get at any store, really measure how difficult your body is working. They also want to know if there are unique genes that make elite athletes, and whether those genes tell us about how to treat fitness problems at the other end of the sports spectrum.
Research Tests The 10,000 Steps Theory
Dr. Euan Ashley, director of the Stanford laboratory, notes that it is a large amount of congestive heart failure. What he has found in his studies that different athletes use different training programs to achieve their goals. Conversely, people who are not in good shape, may benefit from individualized exercise programs. So, ehe recommendation of 10,000 steps a day for EVERYONE is not always valid.
“We know exercise saves lives,” Dr. Ashley told a Washington Post reporter. “What we do not know is the correct dosage.”
Finding the right dose of exercise is a task assumed by your colleague Dr. Ashley in Stanford, Dr. Alan Yeung. Using monitors that run Apple’s Open Source Research Kit, fitness watches, and other electronic gadgets, Dr. Yeung has recruited 53,000 people for a massive study on the of second-to-second amounts of exercise That people really want to get. His preliminary findings include:
- The stereotype that Americans living along the Pacific coast of California, Oregon and Washington and Hawaii are physically more active than Americans living in other parts of the country turns out to be correct. Nevertheless…
- Most Americans spend most of their time sitting, even those in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, who should be (sporting wise) in the best times of their lives. Many of Americans spend almost all their waking hours sitting. Even Americans who do not show signs of heart disease usually do not come anywhere near getting 10,000 steps (5 miles / 8 miles) of walking every day.
Does this mean that we are only a decade away from an epidemic of heart disease among the addicts to the millennium television? Or do you mean that the old recommendations for exercise are wrong?
If you have an iPhone, it may be part of the answer to the question. Stanford University with the “My Heart Counts” app has a study that is open to volunteers from around the world.
Just download a free application, respond to a survey, and let your iPhone and a portable device (if you have one) collect your data for 7 days. Your activity is then summed up in a circle of activity, which tells you how much time you spend on various types of physical activity, and an estimate of your cardiovascular risk and heart condition.
You will receive an estimate of your lifetime risk of having a heart attack or stroke if you are 20 to 59 years, and an estimate of your risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years if you are between the age of 40 and 79. You will also receive recommendations to improve heart health. With the application it takes 10 to 15 minutes a day for only seven days. Researchers recommend that you use the application every three months to collect ongoing data on how well you are doing.
You can participate in the study of “My Heart Counts” if you own an iPhone.