Do 10,000 steps a day really improve heart health?

10,000 steps a day – keeps the doctor away is more of a marketing myth. While keeping that momentum will definitely improve your health, research says sticking with this arbitrary number isn’t necessary. 

10,000 steps a day was more of a marketing tool for selling fitness devices back in the 1960s in Japan. 

What was once called the “Manpo-kei”, which translates to “10,000 steps meter,” has now become a fitness trend, even featuring in popular health apps and devices like Fitbit. 

Many researchers now argue that keeping up with this trademark 10,000-steps-a-day goal isn’t necessary. 

A recent Harvard study suggests that, on average, 4,400 steps a day is enough to significantly reduce the risk of death in women. 

What at the more reasonable heart-health hacks?

While one of the upsides of the 10,000 steps is to encourage more movement, such as commuting in public transport, taking the steps instead of the lift, realistically, very few would ever reach that goal daily. 

Here are the more reasonable heart-health hacks 

Don’t guzzle too much alcohol 

Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for heart health

Did you know that alcohol can give you a heart rate shot at the time of drinking? 

And not just that, alcohol consumption has other long-term effects, such as increasing your risk for liver and kidney disease, weakened heart muscles, and irregular heartbeats, and so on. 

While no level of consumption is considered safe, if you drink, do it in moderation. 

Think twice before you sprinkle more salt

An extra teaspoon of salt can increased your risk for heart disease

The single most important ingredient is also one of the most significant factors for heart disease. 

Our body needs only about 1 or 2 grams of salt per day. But, most Australians are consuming way more salt, and it’s not just out of a shaker, but the food we eat.  

Too much salt, aka sodium, is linked to increased heart disease. If it gets worse, sodium can cause water retention, high blood pressure, and more. 

Pro tip: One extra teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium, so put the shakers aways.

Keep track of your vital 

A patient checking her blood pressure to keep track of her vital

This is something which you need to be worried about, not the 10,000 steps a day.

Keeping track of your vitals, such as blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, is crucial for good heart health. 

Take all steps to keep these vitals at healthy levels, and if you haven’t had them checked for a while, now is the time to do it. 

Work out instead of walking it out

A woman doing moderately intense exercise than doing 10,000 steps a day

10,000 steps equate to about 8 kms, so it could take about an hour depending on how you walk. 

Instead, do a moderately intense workout for 30 minutes for optimum heart health. 

If that’s too much, divide your workout into two 15-minutes segments. 

You’ve got the hacks. What next?

Now that you’re a little more aware that 10,000-steps-a-day is not really necessary, it’s time to get a clean bill of your heart health. 

If you notice any symptoms or have any concerns related to your heart health, get help immediately. 

See our GPs and get on top of your health.