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Another ding against "10,000 steps a day"

The Post rounds up more doctors saying 7,000 or 8,000 steps a day is just fine:

The notion to take 10,000 daily steps stems from a marketing ploy: As the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics approached, a Japanese researcher decided to nudge his nation to be more active by offering pedometers with a name that loosely translated as “10,000-step meter.” (The Japanese character for the number 10,000 looks a little like a person walking.)

In the past few years, multiple large-scale studies have stepped up, looking closely into how many steps we probably need for our health and longevity. In the largest, published last year in the Lancet Public Health, dozens of global researchers pooled data from 15 earlier step-count studies, some unpublished, covering 47,471 adults of all ages, and compared their typical daily step counts to their longevity.

The sweet spot for step counts was not 10,000 or more. In general, the pooled data showed that for men and women younger than age 60, the greatest relative reductions in the risk of dying prematurely came with step counts of between about 8,000 and 10,000 per day.

For people older than age 60, the threshold was a little lower. For them, the sweet spot in terms of reduced mortality risk came at between 6,000 and 8,000 steps a day.

Walking more than 10,000 steps a day wasn’t bad for people — it didn’t increase the risk of dying — but also didn’t add much, in terms of reducing mortality risks.

Chicago historian John R. Schmidt tells the story of a guy who would have had some amazing step counts in his day:

His name was Edward Payson Weston.

By 1867 he was deeply in debt when he met a promoter named George Goodwin. Remembering Weston’s inauguration trek, Goodwin bet fellow businessman T.F. Wilcox $10,000 that Weston could walk the 1,972 km from Portland, Maine, to Chicago in thirty days.

Weston eagerly agreed to the plan. His share of the possible winnings would be $4,000. He would also receive a $6,000 bonus if he walked 100 miles in a single day.

Weston stepped off from Portland at noon on October 29, 1867. He covered the first 105 miles to Boston in two days without incident. Then, as he moved through New England, crowds began to gather. In anticipation of the turn-out, Weston carried with him a supply of studio portraits, which he sold for twenty-five cents each.

Thousands of spectators lined Wabash Avenue as Weston made his victory lap on November 28—Thanksgiving Day. They waved American flags and cheered themselves hoarse. As the conquering hero approached the Sherman House hotel, the crush was so thick that police had to clear the way. At the hotel he gave a short speech to his admirers before retiring.

Assuming he had a normal stride, his walk from Maine to Chicago would have taken about 2.4 million steps, or a little over 92,000 per day. And, one would expect, a few dozen pairs of socks.

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