The best gift you can give to your body while in quarantine
Have you ever heard of the “10,000 steps per day” concept?
It’s amazing how sometimes the most unpredictable and nonsense things go viral. From Youtube videos of teenagers dancing, to carrot cake recipes and the weirdest off-broadway musicals. But the story I’d like to share with you today is how a small thing that became viral actually helped many people: This is the story of the step counter.
Step counters have existed since the mid 1900s, but for a very long time nobody knew they existed, or fully understood their purpose. That remained true until recently, when companies like FitBit and Garmin exploded. Fitbit was founded in 2007, and by 2015 reached over 20 million annual sales. Today, every smartphone has a step counter, directly embedded into the phone manufacturer health app (Apple Health, Google Fit, Samsung Health, etc.).
How did step counters become so abundantly used? This is thanks to the “10,000 steps per day” concept. The thought that people who take 10,000 steps a day are healthier originated in Japan right after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In a brilliant marketing campaign, the company Yamasa chose an arbitrary number of 10,000 as a number that is indicative of a healthy lifestyle. Much research has been done on that number since, and the results are ambiguous. While it is in fact true that most people walk much less than 10,000 steps per day, many studies have shown no correlation between people that walk 10,000 steps and health.
But the marketing campaign worked, and the virality of the 10,000 steps concept, has in fact changed everything in 2 major ways. First, it made us all more aware of our lifestyle, and particularly aware of how much we walk. It is not uncommon to see people in their living room at 11:45pm, walking around the coffee table to achieve their health goal. Second, and even more important, it sparked us to research not only how much we walk, but how we walk.
In an attempt to justify the 10,000 steps concept, research has yielded an amazing result. It is not the number of steps that matters, but the number of high pace steps. While walking 10,000 steps per day did not predict healthier life, walking 5,000 steps at a pace higher than 100 steps per minute has in fact predicted it. It is the intensity, rather than the volume, that matters.
OneStep helps patients through their gait rehabilitation and expands on that concept. When it comes to rehabilitation, the amount that actually matters is the amount of high quality steps. This is why we introduced the Healthy Steps Counter as a key feature of our app. OneStep does not simply count steps, but it analyses every small motion and accounts only for steps that the physical therapist has defined as healthy for you (based on your personal experience and gait). This way we encourage our patients to take healthier steps to get better faster.
But you don’t have to have OneStep to take healthier steps. You can use any step counter, and keep in mind that it is not the amount that matters, but the intensity. In these days of quarantine, the best gift you can give your body is not just to take more steps, but to find the time to walk faster and better, even from home.