Morris Multimedia is about to kick off another exercise competition. It is slated to run, pun intended, from June 1-30.
The 10,000 steps a day challenge aims to improve the health of company employees. Thank you for caring about my health, as well as the other employees. I appreciate it. Some companies really don’t care. I worked at a doctor’s office once and had to call in sick. My boss didn’t call to ask me what was wrong. You would think, as a health profession, he would have been concerned with one of his employees calling in sick.
Back to the competition. I won the first one, at least as far as the Southern Standard’s portion of it. I backed off during subsequent competitions. I think I might get involved this time.
I started looking into the 10,000 steps a day and where that first started, because it seems to be widely used. Why is 10,000 steps a day the threshold, the border, between healthy and unhealthy? I couldn’t find anything that really confirmed it.
I did find this:
Approximately 70 years ago the London Transit Workers Study, a famous work in which researchers tracked the heart health of London bus drivers and conductors, was published. The study found the conductors, who walked up and down bus aisles throughout the workday, were substantially less likely to develop or die from heart disease than the drivers, who sat almost constantly while at work. The study was one of the first to persuasively show that being physically active could lower someone’s risk for heart disease, while being sedentary had the opposite effect.
All that sounds like common sense to me but maybe it wasn’t more than 70 years ago.
Over the last 70 years, countless large-scale studies have substantiated the findings of the London Transit Workers Study. Today, there is little doubt that moving during the day can improve the condition of your heart.
Doesn’t that sound awesome? I want to go for a walk.
Then, I heard that 15,000 is now being touted as the target steps each day for good health. Apparently, there was another study done recently with another set of postal workers in Scotland. It found employees who walked for more than three hours a day, covering at least 15,000 steps, which is about seven miles, generally had normal body mass indexes, waistlines and metabolic profiles. Together, these factors meant that they had, effectively, no heightened risk for cardiac disease.
Before you get too excited, all either study really proved is that walking is healthy for your heart and sitting is unhealthy for your heart. It cannot definitively determine that walking – regardless of the distance – will prevent heart disease. I’m sure other factors, such as diet, play a role.
To be completely honest, I think 15,000 steps every day might be a bit much unless you are in a competition. I’m definitely in favor of walking though, so come on June 1.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can reached at 473-2191.