Wednesday, May 4, 2022

How Many Steps Are They Now Recommending.


If you count the number of steps per day, you'll know that 10,000 was the magic number but it turns out the magic number came about as part of the advertising campaign launched by the Japanese company who marketed one of the first pedometers in the 1960's. 

Some people finally did some research to determine if the 10,000 steps a day was good or if there was some other number that turns out to be better. One of the conclusions is that middle aged participants who log only 7,000 steps per day have a 50 to 70 percent reduced chance of dying of any cause over the following decade.  There is also a reduced chance of premature death when they walked 7,000 steps per day.

This particular study took place in 2005 and 2006. It observed 2110 adults aged 38 to 50.  They wore a special piece of equipment designed to keep track of all their steps over a week.  Once the study was over, the study continued following these people for 11 years.  Over the 11 years, 72 people died mostly from cancer or heart disease. 

The researchers discovered that people who took between 7,000 and 10,000 steps experienced a significant reduction in their mortality risk.  They also discovered there was no correlation between speed or step intensity and mortality. They did find a correlation between people who increased the number of steps with benefits they received. 

Currently, the guidelines that were rewritten in 2018 wrote their recommendation as walking for specific lengths of time but there is no recommendation for number of steps.  However, they recommend all adults walk at between 7,000 and 13,000 steps every day. A mile is made up of about 2,000 steps depending of the length of the stride.  Most people are able to achieve 5,000 steps a day just by going through their normal daily activity. 

The researchers did not use a standard pedometer, they used a research grade tracking device that is much more accurate than the normal pedometers used by people.  According to one study, pedometers are more accurate at counting steps when a person is walking at a speed of 3 miles per hour or higher.  In fact, the accuracy was found to be around 96 percent but if the person is walking between two and three miles per hour, the accuracy drops to between 74 and 91 percent.  If the speed of the walker drops below two miles an hour, the accuracy of the pedometer drops to between 60 and 71 percent.

This is due to the pedometer needing to detect the vertical movement of the hips in order to work well.  If a person is walking slowly, the pedometer is unable to detect movement as well. Furthermore, pedometers are either piezoelectric or spring-levered.  The piezoelectric versions are more sensitive at slower speeds while the spring-levered ones are position dependent and must have a certain tilt.  If the tilt is off, then the accuracy can be off by 20 percent at fast speeds and up to 60 percent for slow speeds. Since the piezoelectric type is not dependent on tilt, they tend to be much more accurate. In addition, they are not designed to calculate distance or number of calories burned. 

In the end, it is best to purchase a pedometer that only measures the number of steps and nothing more.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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