Is 10,000 Steps a Day the Magic Number for Heart Health?
The idea of achieving 10,000 steps a day for heart health originated in Japan, where marketers were trying to sell a pedometer they named “manpo-kei”. This name translates to “10,000 step meter” in English, and since then, 10,000 steps a day has been the goal. There is no scientific evidence behind this number.
A recent study was reported in the American Heart Association scientific conference in November 2021, in which researchers looked into how many steps a day correlated with good heart health. Researchers analyzed seven prospective studies with device-measured steps per day and followed participants for cardiovascular events, including coronary heart disease events, stroke and heart failure events. About 17 thousand individuals who had a median follow up of over 6 years were studied. Researchers found that higher steps per day was associated with lower cardiovascular disease incidence. The most active group in the study had half the incidence of cardiovascular events compared to the least active group. The research showed that the number of steps that we ought to strive for to significantly reduce our cardiovascular events risk is between 5,000 to 6,000 steps per day, which is equivalent to recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. This number is significantly less than the nice, clean and magical number of 10,000 steps per day that we are all used to hearing.
If you can not achieve 5,000 to 6000 steps per day, then don't be overwhelmed. Continue to walk with the plan to gradually increase your steps, making it part of your daily routine. Simple lifestyle changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can make a huge positive impact on your heart health.