If you want to live healthier, you are often told that you should take at least ten thousand steps a day. However, many people fail to achieve this goal. Doctor and professor of physiology at Radboud University, Maria Hopman, indicates that ten thousand steps a day are not necessary to be able to live a healthy life.
Hopman says that sitting still for a long time during the day causes a lot of damage to the body; even when you move fanatically afterward. When you sit, your muscles, lungs, and heart use less oxygen and calories. Your body also consumes few sugars and carbohydrates, so that your blood sugar level remains high. This increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

How the idea of ​​ten thousand steps a day came about

The ideal image of ten thousand steps a day comes from Japan in the 1960s. There, Dr. Yoshiro Hatano had made a 10,000 pedometer: Manpo-Kei. With this, he hoped to prevent the Japanese from taking over the American lifestyle. His reason for this was the Olympic Games and the tourism that would come after them.
Yet there is a kernel of truth in taking ten thousand steps a day. It is healthy to exercise enough, and walking is an easy activity. Yet you don’t just have to walk to keep your body healthy. Not everyone is equally mobile and able to take ten thousand steps a day.

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An alternative

An English doctor named Michael Mosley, along with Professor Rob Copeland, conducted a study to see if there is an alternative with the same health benefit. This research shows that people who exercise intensively for 10 minutes three times a day, maintain this more easily than people who take ten thousand steps a day. This research is confirmed by the so-called “Active 10” theory.
Maria Hopman confirms these findings. It is more important to exercise intensively several times a day than to exercise a lot at once. Because you move a lot in short periods, your heart rate rises and your blood circulation starts. This keeps the heart and lungs in better shape.
In the Dutch exercise regulations, you will not find anything about taking ten thousand steps, but you will find intensive exercise over 150 minutes. This is equivalent to three times 10 minutes per (working) day.

The adjusted exercise advice

If you want to get enough exercise per day, walking is an easy option. However, this is not necessary for a healthy life. After all, cycling, dancing, running, swimming, fitness, and other intensive sports also ensure that you exercise enough, without taking ten thousand steps a day.
“If you want to exercise more, purchasing a pedometer can help keep you motivated,” says sports scientist Thea Kooiman. “Keep in mind that you don’t set the bar too high, because that often backfires. It is best to set small goals and work through them one by one before working towards your bigger goal.”

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