Movement Monday: 10,000 an Arbitrary Number? And, Fitbit

I’ve always wondered where this rule of 10,000 steps per day came from. Because we, as humans, are not robots and come uniquely, wonderfully and specially made. How on earth can we expect a simple rule of 10,000 steps to fit for everyone?

This is the same for the rules of “8 hours of sleep”, or “2000 calories per day” and so on.

The simple truth for these simple rules is that this is not a “one size fits all”.

Some people need more or less sleep than 8 hours. Some people need more or less than 2000 calories. And 10,000 steps seems like a shot in the dark as everyone has differing fitness abilities.

10,000 might really challenge some on the daily and encourage things like taking the stairs or parking further out in the parking lot from the doors. But for others, 10,000 steps are logged by early afternoon. Still for others, who have maybe lived a more sedentary lifestyle for much of their lives, 10,000 is an unattainable goal (and therefore one folks are more likely to give up on).

I got to Googling to get an idea of where “rule of 10,000” got in the mix.

Maybe you will find this as amusing as I did…

10,000 steps hit the scene as a marketing strategy. Sometime around 1965 a Japanese company began manufacturing and selling pedometers that in Japanese had a name meaning “10,000 step meter”. It is further believed that the name was chosen because the Japanese character for 10,000 looks kind of like a man walking.

What I was unable to find is any scientific research specifically validating the rule of 10,000 as a guideline for the masses.

So there you have it!

I gave up on the rule of 10,000 long ago.

It was actually during a time when I worked a desk job and while I parked at the back of the parking lot, and got out for walks during my breaks twice a day and tried to squeeze in a bit of exercise before or after work hours, a vast majority of the time I simply couldn’t hit that 10,000 mark.

Here’s what made more sense for me (and maybe will for you as well):
1) assess how many steps are logged during an average day, doing routine tasks
2) set your goal out a little higher than that to encourage additional steps in the day
3) re-assess and adjust goal (i.e. once you begin parking further out in the parking lot that becomes part of “routine”. In order to encourage adjustments that lead to additional steps the goal must also be adjusted)

Orrrrr, scrap the goal of steps all together because maybe you achieve your fitness goals via swimming, cycling or other means of activity!

In full transparency: my daily step goal is 8,000 steps. Some days that comes easy and I end up logging in excess of 10,000. Other days it’s a struggle and I fall short.

And I keep track of my activity via my FitBit Blaze (<– Affiliate Link)

I appreciate that I can customize my goals and different details relating to health can are (or can be) tracked including stairs, miles, calories burned, heart rate, minutes of activity, how many active days a week I’ve had, how many hours I’ve been active in a day (250 steps or more)….plus water and food intake as well as women’s health details and sleep.

It’s nice to get a little buzzing reminder of how many more steps are needed to dub the hour “active”. It often gets me up and moving when I may not have gotten up to log a few more steps otherwise.

The market is FULL of fitness trackers with so many different tracking abilities. I’ve only ever used a FitBit but I’m curious, do you wear a fitness tracker? Which is your favorite…and why?

Oh and before I go….we started the 30-Day Standing Abs Challenge yesterday. It’s not too late to join in the fun (and give me a shout in the comments below if you are participating so I know to check in with peeps as the month progresses)! See details in This Post and jump on the bandwagon….no boring crunches going on here!

Happy Labor Day!



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Photo Cred: Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

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