New research debunks 10,000 steps a day myth: 7,126 is enough

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A new study by researchers at Radboud University Medical Center has found you don’t need to take 10,000 steps a day to reduce your chances of premature death. The magic number is 7,126.

Lead researcher Thijs Eijsvogels analysed data from 12 international studies involving over 110,000 people. The paper, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, concluded that the 10,000 number was overstated.

The researchers found beyond 8,800 steps per day, there is no decrease in risk of death. The risk of cardiovascular disease does not decrease after 7,100.

The 10,000 steps target was never based on scientific research. It was first used in the build-up to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo to raise awareness of the importance of  health and fitness amongst the Japanese just as the modern pedometer came to market.

Manpo-kei, which literally translates to 10,000 steps, became the goal for walking clubs that sprung up who could now easily track their steps.

Eijsvogels doesn’t think his research should encourage people to walk less, however. Exercise can have benefits beyond mortality and heart health, he stressed. “More steps are not worse in any case,” he said.

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