(Telegraph) The 10,000-step myth and the real health goals you should aim for

If you’re regularly pounding the pavement to clock up your 10,000 steps, you may want to pause. Last week, Dr Greg Hager, an expert in computer ­science at Johns Hopkins University, said many of today’s fitness apps and devices had no basis in evidence and that a one-size-fits-all approach could be harmful. He singled out the way some devices encourage users to clock up 10,000 steps a day – calling it an arbitrary number made up in a 1960s Japanese study.

While the advice might not be quite as misguided as the notion that a “Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”, the “10,000 steps” approach to fitness has long been questioned by the scientific community.

Dr Ben Kelly, head of preventative Medicine at Nuffield Health, says: “In the academic space we’ve known for a long time that the response you have to exercise is very specific.” While one person might lose weight and get fit counting steps, for another it might have little effect. He cites a Nuffield study that showed that five to 10 per cent of the population showed no measurable improvement after following such fitness guidelines.

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