These days it is hard to walk the streets without running into someone who is anxiously looking at their wrist to see if they are on target to reach the magic 10,000 steps. Is it really a goal worth striving for, or might there be something better? And where did that figure come from?
You might be surprised to hear it was the result of a 1960s marketing campaign in Japan. In the run-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a company came up with a device which they started marketing to the health-conscious. It was called a Manpo-Kei. In Japanese, “man” means 10,000, “po” means steps and “kei” means meter. So, it was, literally, a 10,000 steps meter. The device was an early pedometer, based on the work of Dr Yoshiro Hatano, a young academic at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. Dr Hatano was worried that the Japanese were busy importing a slothful American lifestyle, as well as a love of watching baseball, and wanted to help them get more active. He reckoned that if he could persuade his fellow Japanese to increase their daily steps from 4,000 to around 10,000 then they would burn off approximately 500 extra calories a day and remain slim.
That, apparently, was how the “10,000 steps a day” regime was born. It was clearly a great marketing success. But is it still the most effective way to improve our fitness?
Some the fact’s any walking is great for our health, how many calories that are burnt from your 10,000 steps depends on your heart rate, the faster your heart rate the more calories you are going to burn.
Fitness trackers are great for keeping count of how many steps you are doing but if you really want to know how many calories you are burning by doing it get a fitness tracker that monitors your heart rate as well as, but you need to check the accuracy of the heart rate monitor this is simple to do all you need to do is find your actual heart rate and set a timer for 15 seconds, then count how many times your heart beats and then times it by 4. When you have this figure check it against your fitness track at what that says your heart rate is. You will then now how accurate your fitness tracker is. Fitness trackers are not perfect but a discrepancy of one or two beats is fine and you will then have an idea of how many calories you are burning each time you do your 10,000 steps.
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