In Activity Tracker, Bicycling, Gadgets, Public Health, Technology, Transit, Walking


As more and more of us are trying to get more active and take care of our health, we keep investing in all kinds of gadgets that will keep us on track.  I use a Fitbit to monitor my activity and keep checking a few times a day to adjust accordingly and reach my “10,000 steps goal”.

But where did this 10,000 steps goal came from? Why is it the recommended daily distance/number of steps?

I have found the answer!  And in a book about Japanese home cooking of all places!

The book is “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen” written by Naomi Moriyama and her husband William Doyle.  The authors talk about the merits of a Japanese diet and the difference fresh home cooked meals (many vegetables and fish) and portion control make to their health.  They have also included recipes and suggestions on where to procure the ingredients.

Japanese people are typically healthy and not overweight, and it is not simply because of the way they eat or because they go to gym regularly. It is because of something the author calls “incidental exercise”, that means they walk everywhere, they go up and down the stairs or as the author said about her father who is his seventies, he “gets around the neighborhood on a basic old-fashioned bicycle”. The Author notes that this is true all over Japan, not only in big cities like Tokyo. Being active is a lifestyle and walking as a way of keeping active is very popular among Japanese.

According to the authors the 10,000 steps idea came forty years ago from a Japanese researcher named Yoshiro Hatano as the concept of a “first cheap, reliable pedometer.”   Nowadays many health authorities concur with Mr. Hatano and they recommend walking 10,000 steps a day as a way of keeping healthy.

Reaching the 10,000 steps a day goal may not be possible every day (sometimes I miss my mark by more than I like), but making little changes in our life can certainly increase daily activity.  For example, parking further from the grocery store will add to the number of steps, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, and if possible walking or biking to work. And on top of all that, it’s greening the environment!

If you want to share a story about how you reach your 10,000 steps goal please contact us.

Source:  “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen” by Naomi Moriyama, William Doyle.

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