While your Fitbit may beep in celebration on your wrist when you hit the 10,000 step benchmark, recent research has shown that the daily goal may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
The device was an early pedometer, based on the work of Dr Yoshiro Hatano, a young academic at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare.
Dr Hatano was worried that the Japanese were busy importing a slothful American lifestyle, as well as a love of watching baseball, and wanted to help them get more active.
He reckoned that if he could persuade his fellow Japanese to increase their daily steps from 4,000 to around 10,000 then they would burn off approximately 500 extra calories a day and remain slim.
That, apparently, was how the “10,000 steps a day” regime was born.
It was clearly a great marketing success. But is it still the most effective way to improve our fitness? Medical journalist Michael Mosley tried to find out. And the results were quite intriguing.