The goal of 10,000 steps per day is considered the benchmark in terms of the level of physical activity to be achieved. However, this figure would come from the promotion of a pedometer created by the Japanese company Yamasa Corporation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.
If this figure has remained anchored in people’s minds, no study has really endorsed this objective, and recent studies even tend to show that 7,500 steps per day would already have significant health benefits.
But to lose weight or even just prevent weight gain, no specific number of steps per day would be enough on its own, suggests a new scientific study, published recently in the Journal of Obesity.
Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU, United States) followed 120 first-year university students here for six months. Equipped with pedometers, participants were asked to walk 10,000, 12,500 or 15,000 steps per day, six days a week for 24 weeks, while the scientists monitored their calorie intake and their weight in parallel. At the end of the study, participants in the 10,000-step group averaged 11,066 steps, those in the 12,500-step group averaged 13,638 steps, and those in the 15,000-step group averaged 14,557 steps. per day.
The aim of the study was to observe whether exceeding the recommended 10,000 steps per day would minimize weight and body fat gain. Verdict: regardless of whether students took more than 15,000 steps per day or not, they still gained weight, averaging 1.5 kg over the six-month follow-up. Previous studies have already observed that the first year of university resulted in an average weight gain of 1 to 4 kg.
“Exercise Alone Isn’t Always the Most Effective Way to Lose Weight”Commented Bruce Bailey, BYU exercise science professor and lead author of the study. “If you keep track of your daily step count, it might have an advantage in increasing your physical activity, but our study showed that it won’t translate into weight maintenance or weight gain prevention.”, He said. A healthy and balanced diet as well as a reduction in sedentary lifestyle therefore seems essential to lose weight or even prevent weight gain.
However, the authors are careful not to recommend that you walk 10,000 steps per day, since this can have other benefits for physical but also emotional health. In the group of students with 15,000 steps per day, the time spent in a sedentary position (sitting or lying) decreased by 77 minutes per day.