The brilliant idea of 10,000 steps a day

Female feet, wearing black sneakers with white piping, stepping on asphalt, left foot slightly moved back, against street lights.

What is the history of the pedometer and who walks how much

The theory that we must walk 10,000 steps a day to feel good is 58 years old. Its author is the Japanese inventor Eshiro Hatano, who created the first electronic pedometer. The mechanical pedometer was invented at the end of the 18th century by the American president Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson's Pedometer

He is among the outstanding personalities of his time (1743 – 1826), famous above all for drafting the Declaration of Independence of the USA. In addition to being a distinguished politician, however, Jefferson was also a lawyer, biologist and winemaker, architect, mathematician, archaeologist, inventor, philosopher, violinist and polyglot – he knew 6 languages. Among his inventions are the revolving chair, the revolving library, the polygraph, and a type of plow for turning over the soil.

Jefferson’s pedometer was worn on the belt and recorded the number of steps taken, but then it was considered more as an interesting male accessory without much significance.

In 1964, Hatano came up with an ingenious marketing ploy to increase sales of his invention. The motto of his electronic pedometer is repeated like a mantra to this day: “10,000 steps to happiness.”

A man's fingers hold a black sports watch at the side, which rests on another man's hand. The clock reads: 10,000, 11.5 kcal, 204, 183.0 m.
Photo: Unsplash

10,000 steps to happiness

In the 1990s, a number of medical studies proved that this motto was not exaggerated – researchers and doctors united around the concept that this daily “dose” of steps, which is equal to about 8 kilometers, ensures a healthy life. Its popularity in Japan is huge and even some IT companies require the use of pedometers and oblige employees to walk the steps in question during working hours or on the way to and from the office.

The relevance of this theory is also confirmed these days, with new research proving that residents of densely populated cities walk an average of about 5,000 steps, which is too little, especially compared to the 20,000 steps taken per day by children. Representatives of some professions, such as office managers and receptionists, walk even less – about 3,000 steps, while, say, waiters and couriers usually exceed the norm of 10,000. It has also been proven that a sedentary lifestyle leads to a number of negative consequences: overweight, disorder of metabolism, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Female feet in gray-orange sneakers climb gray concrete stairs. The legs are visible up to mid-calf.
Photo: Unsplash

Today's reality:

Catano’s concept quickly found a huge number of admirers, and today we have at our disposal a variety of technological gadgets and applications that perform many functions: measure steps, speed, load, burned calories, heart rate, temperature, amount of consumed fluids, etc. A certain classification describes the way of life of modern people according to the steps taken by them:

– Below 5000 – sedentary lifestyle;

– From 5000 to 7500 – weakly active;

– From 7,500 to 10,000 – moderately active;

– From 10,000 to 12,500 – active;

– Over 12,500 – very active.

On a black background, a small white image of a person is visible, below it the numbers 38: 03, below it an image of a heart with an uneven line passing through it and the number 159, below it two human steps and the number 8830.
Photo: Unsplash


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