Did You Join The Bogus 10k Club?
Do you walk 10k steps a day? Should you be walking 10k steps a day? The origins of the magical 10k can be found around the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A marketing campaign for a certain new pedometer called the Manpo-kei: “man” meaning 10,000, “po” meaning steps and “kei” meaning meter. Somehow the number has been adopted as the benchmark for peoples daily activity, unfortunately there is literally no body of scientific work or testing to prove it.
So 10k translates as roughly 8km or 5 miles – depending on the circumstances one could manage to do this distance throughout our day, but the more realistic situation is that you would need to top it up with dedicated exercise sessions or walks. Especially at the moment with the current pandemic situation.
It seems that as with anything measurable people are becoming obsessed with this aspirational 10,000 steps. Although being driven to achieve goals and dreams it is important to remember that mental health is equally important as physical, you need balance in your life not just any ‘one thing’ you spend all your time obsessing over.
It started with pedometers and now we have Fit-Bits, smart watches and all kinds of fitness trackers in every price range. I love my smart watch – I bought it mainly because I liked the shape and it is a nice watch in its own right – the fact that it even tracks my heart rate is a bonus. Having one means I understand this obsession, you feel you should be checking it as much as social media. It becomes hot topic in the office as everyone compares their average blood pressure rate for the week.
Is it all healthy?
The constant measurement and comparison with others? It seems a little inappropriate when everyone is differently abled when it comes to fitness. There is no doubt that walking and exercise can help your mood but there is no need to obsess over 10k steps to achieve some kind of nirvana.
Over the years there have been many lucrative schemes by companies and charities to encourage people to do some pre-determined number of steps. Its a gateway to constant competition between you, yourself and the world whether we like to admit it or not. The 10k a day has been now stepped up to 100k over a month, I personally think its poor for mental health as people might struggle to meet their quota but it is always good to remember its the taking part that counts even if you got half way that is still 50k steps. Rather than going down the route of oh no I didn’t do enough. Jordan Etkin, a psychologist at Duke University in the US, found that people who tracked their steps did walk further, but they enjoyed it less, saying it felt like work. When they were assessed at the end of the day, their happiness levels were lower than in those who had walked without their steps being tracked.
Do you have a step goal? How do you exercise? What motivates you?
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