We’ve all heard of the 10,000 step rule. Anyone who takes that many steps a day is said to be healthier. Wrong, says Professor Ingo Froboese and explains why this rule is nonsense.
The Smart Watch celebrates your success when you reach your daily goal of 10,000 steps. The number 10,000 is also used again and again in advertising and as advice from health professionals.
But why does it even have to be those infamous 10,000 steps? Ingo Froboese, Professor of Prevention and Rehabilitation in Sport at the German Sport University in Cologne, took a closer look at the number.
This is behind the step rule
Walking does wonders for the body and mind. Humans are not made to sit for long hours. Movement is therefore immensely important. It gets your circulation going, stimulates blood flow and even clears your head.
Muscles, tendons and joints also thank you for regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be a high-performance sport. It is enough if you go for a walk or take more steps in your everyday life.
Setting a step goal isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. How you take your steps is not important and is based on your existing level of fitness. Those who do little sport in everyday life are well served with a simple walk. Fit people can go jogging.
Not too much at once
But from zero to one hundred suddenly 10,000 steps a day are actually not that good for the body, explains Ingo Froboese in an interview with Utopia. If you want too much too quickly, you risk sore muscles, joint pain and, in the worst case, a strain.
Steps rule was formerly an advertising slogan
The well-known 10,000 rule came to people’s heads in a rather less sporty way. The number originally did not come from medical professionals, explains Froboese. This is an advertising slogan for the first pedometer introduced by the Japanese company Yamasa in 1964.
Since then, this number has been circulating in many guidebooks and in people’s minds – but without it ever being confirmed from a sports science point of view, according to the professor.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be 10,000 steps
The physical condition of people is different. Therefore, a step goal cannot be generalized. Froboese is of the opinion that not everyone has to walk 10,000 steps every day.
A simple trick helps to realistically assess your own step goal. According to the professor, motivated people should try “to walk 3,000 steps more than you normally do”. In this way, the individual performance is better adapted to the condition.
Not everything has to be documented
Ingo Froboese is also certain that not every step has to be counted and recorded. He thinks there is no need for digital rewards.
“I just need a feel for my own body. Your body tells you when you’ve been too inactive,” explains the professor. According to Froboese, a sluggish body manifests itself primarily in the form of joint or muscle pain, a lack of fitness or tiredness.
Movement – important for the body even without a number
Even if it doesn’t have to be 10,000 steps a day, the body should be sufficiently moved. For this purpose, Froboese formulated three areas of everyday life in which more movement can be integrated: “work, transport and leisure”. The aim is to move the body more and create an awareness of fitness.
This article first appeared on FIT FOR FUN.