Have you heard of or been told that you strive to walk 10,000 steps a day? What is this number based on? Scientifically, nothing. Its roots are in Japanese walking clubs and it was actually a marketing campaign designed for a pedometer named “manpo-kei” which was introduced in 1965. The term literally translates to 10,000 steps/day. Based on your stride length distance between your feet as you walk, 10,000 steps averages to five miles.
Even though its foundation was less than scientific, 10,000 steps has become a goal often strived for. Numerous studies have shown that any increase in distance walked has tremendous benefits on both a person’s physical and mental health. One study showed there is an inverse relationship between the number of blocks walked/energy expenditure and cognitive decline. Another study showed the following impact of starting a walking program:
- Men who walk at least 2miles a day are 1.8 times less likely than sedentary men to develop dementia over a 6 year period.
- Increased physical activity is associated with reduced incidence of dementia.
- Association of physical activity and cognitive function is apparent even when exercise is limited to later life.
Simply engaging in a walking program provides numerous cognitive benefits. Walking, along with cardiac exertion, facilitates production of nerve-protecting compounds; increases blood flow to the brain; improves development and survival of neurons (neurogenesis); decreases risk of heart and blood vessel diseases and overall is a marker for a healthy lifestyle.
While 10,000 steps a day is a great goal to strive for, any increase in walking distance, will have health benefits regardless of how old you are. The use of a pedometer/step counter allows anyone to objectively quantify their attainment of whatever walking goal they establish for themselves. Check out the variety of pedometers offered by SOAR Life Products.