10,000 STEPS – BETTER FEWER, BUT BETTER!
“One step forward, two steps back” – this was the name of one of Lenin’s works which students in the Soviet Union were forced to study. Another of these classic articles was called “Better Fewer, But Better”. I, thank God, don’t remember what these articles were about, but their names sound relevant for today.
Now, everyone is obsessed (in a good way) with the 10,000 steps program. Are you able to make it that far? And if so, don’t you think it would take up time that could be spent on other life goals?
Today every other passer-by on the street anxiously looks at their phone or tablet – have we gotten there yet or not? But why 10,000, and not 9,000 or 11, 000?
It all started in the 1960s in Japan. They commercialized one of the first pedometers, and 10,000 steps was just a marketing trick. The Japanese at that time picked up on the American habit of passively watching baseball and at the same time hypodynamia, so they decided to uplift the body and spirit.
It was believed that 10,000 steps would burn an extra 500 calories. The trick worked, and the 10,000 program conquered Japan as well as the rest of the world.
But isn’t it the Sisyphean labor? I mean, yes it’s better than sitting in front of a monitor for days, but are these levels of effort justified?
Isn’t it better to have 3 short but intense walks, like the Active 10 program?
With Active 10, you generally don’t have to greedily count your steps, but rather walk 3 times a day for 10 minutes.
In the UK, both methods were tested on volunteers. One group ruefully walked the 10,000 steps (~5 miles), and the other did 3 quick and optimistic sessions for about 1.5 miles total.
The criterion is “quickly” – to the point that you can speak, but you wouldn’t be able to sing.
“In the Active 10 group, the total volume of moderate-to-high level exercise was 30% higher than in the 10,000 steps group, despite the fact that the first was moving for less time. Moderately intense exercise has the greatest health benefit”. (BBC)
Not to mention that such exercise loads, according to some, help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even some types of cancer. It turns out that these Marxist-Leninist “classics” were right, as far as the title goes, but going deeper into these works isn’t worth a single step.
It’s better to just go out and take a quick walk, like for example to Benjamin Eye Institute, if you live within a mile-and-a-half.
Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash