Good News Of The Week

Good news is painfully thin on the ground these days, so it is important to grab any with both hands. For those who fret about not doing their 10,000 steps a day – a week is my goal – a study conducted by I-Min Lee from Harvard Medical School shows that it is not the magic number.

16,000 women aged over 70 were fitted with a device which measured movement during their waking hours for a week. When the researchers followed up on the women four and a bit years later, 504 had died, but the average number of steps that survivors were taking was only 5,500. It seems that those who took 4,000 steps a day had a much higher survival rate than those who pottered their way to 2,700. Survival rates increased the more steps were taken but plateaued after 7,500 with no appreciable benefit, other than a smug feeling of satisfaction, after that.

It seems that the myth of 10,000 steps a day is the result of a successful marketing campaign, launched just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by a company flogging a pedometer called Manpo-kei. Man means ten thousand in Japanese, po steps, and kei meter, with no obvious scientific basis behind it. If only they had called it Rokusenpo-kei (6,000 step meter), just think how much better and happier we would be.

It just goes to show that it does not always pay to go the extra mile.

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