Everyone and their mother is obsessed with taking 10,000 steps a day. Fitbits and Apple Watches are making it incredibly easy to track your progress in this seemingly arbitrary goal. The origin of this trend is actually very different from what you probably think: the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics.

You may not remember because you might not have been born yet, but this is actually the first time “taking 10,000 steps” became a practice. It wasn’t a series of doctors doing intensive research about health; it was a Japanese pedometer used in the Sixties. It was called the “10,000 step meter,” probably because that number is considered good luck in Japan. Half a century later, we still use this number as a goal that might not actually be accurate.

Doctors confirm that walking is very healthy, and taking many steps in a day can only help. However, the amount of steps one needs to take is probably way more than 10,000. In Japan, the obesity rate is far lower than in America. Based on Western diets, we should probably be taking closer to 20,000 steps a day in order to keep up with Japanese health practices.

At this point, the whole concept of Fitbit culture is quickly becoming more of a fashion trend than a health trend. With more research, hopefully we can find the correct number soon.

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