10,000 steps?

10,000 steps?

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I’m sitting in a busy restaurant waiting for a friend. Behind me, there is a vigorous debate going on about the Michael Mosley article: ‘Forget walking 10,000 steps a day‘.

I’ve seen a few articles over the last week which question the 10k step goal many people strive for with their wearable fitness trackers. The theme behind them is a question of the benefit of this approach every day when compared to a series of 10-minute brisk walks.

I think this is an excellent example of needing to be clear about the objective.  Levels of health and well-being are relative to the individual. I wouldn’t question that if you seriously want to improve your fitness, you’re going to need more than walking 10k steps a day. There are however other benefits which go beyond aerobic fitness. Here are three observations.

  1. Moving on a more regular basis is good for blood flow. Certainly, it’s better than staying sedentary. As a result, you get better oxygen flow, particularly to the brain. More oxygen helps with our resilience.
  2. Having a defined day long goal will encourage you to find different ways to achieve it. For example, I had a conversation with someone last week who was getting off the London tube a stop earlier and found that the time walking allowed them to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
  3. I work with people to help them introduce more positive triggers into their daily habits. The 10k step goal feels like a good example.  Throughout the day the pursuit of the 10k steps typically raises awareness of your health more generally – particularly food and drink. That feels like a good thing.

As for the table in the restaurant – currently, someone who on a first glance doesn’t put their health as a priority is lecturing a lady who is wearing a Fitbit about it being “a waste of time”. There’s a sense of irony here. I suspect that wasn’t what Michael Moseley had in mind when he wrote his article.

As always I’m interested in your views and reactions?

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