Height, years of insurance, battery level: We live in a world full of numbers. Almost nothing is expressed in numbers. For several years now, every step we take every day is counted automatically by the smartphone or smartwatch. Goal: 10,000 of these should be traded daily. Otherwise, the numbers often illuminate in a warning red and sometimes create a feeling of unease. But does it really need to be 10,000 steps? Does reaching this number actually keep us fit and healthy?

Publishing a study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, scientists say the fitness tip is not based on scientific knowledge. This “magic number” is more of a myth. the results of the study It was published in the medical journal The Lancet.

a marketing gimmick

A look back: The theory about the 10,000 steps needed comes from marketing, not medical science. A new pedometer was introduced in Japan over 40 years ago. This ad originally talked about 10,000 steps.

The aim of the study, now published, was to observe the link between step count and frequency and mortality. The results do not indicate that the exercise was not effective – but they do show that it does not necessarily have to be 10,000 steps. In total, the data of 47,500 participants were analyzed.

For the 18-60 age group, taking 8,000 or more steps per day was found to reduce the risk of premature death. According to research, 6,000 to 8,000 steps a day are enough for people over 60 to stay physically fit. If you take more steps than the specified number – that is, about 10,000 – it does not significantly change life expectancy or health status.

speed and health promotion

But what role does speed play when walking? Do you have to act fast to stay healthy? Not according to the study authors. The evaluation showed that walking speed did not play a role in achieving health benefits.

According to the authors of the study, it can be assumed that daily walking is certainly beneficial to health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week to stay fit and healthy. Individual sports units should never be shorter than 15 minutes.