Where did “10,000 steps a day” come from? What do the data say, anyway?

A really thoughtful piece from Tanner Garrity in Inside Hook asks “Where does 10,000 steps really come from? Enjoy

Welcome to The Workout From Home Diaries. Throughout our national self-isolation period, we’ll be sharing single-exercise deep dives, offbeat belly-busters and general get-off-the-couch inspiration that doesn’t require a visit to your (now-shuttered) local gym.

Once a day, usually in that late afternoon work wasteland between lunch and dinner, the Fitbit on my wrist throws a party. It buzzes for six straight seconds, animatronic fireworks shoot across the little hard-coated plastic screen, and the number “10,000” flashes repeatedly. On certain days, especially after a motivated morning run, that celebration can arrive hours earlier. On others, it may not come until I trudge to the bathroom just before bed, after I’ve long forgotten about it. But in every instance, it fills me with a sense of satisfaction. Against all odds, I’ve done it. I’ve taken 10,000 steps.

In the mid-1960s, a a Japanese watch company called Yamasa Clock debuted the figure that has been associated with daily step-counts, activity meters and modern wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch ever since. The young brand’s marketing team named their pedometer Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.” Something about the number sounded right: it was large enough to feel like a goal, but small enough to feel like an achievable one for the average adult. But Yamasa’s motive was even less scientific than that. The Japanese character for 10,000 somewhat a resembles a gentleman out for a brisk stroll: 万.

For more, click over to Inside Hook

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