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In an age when many of us have watches or smartphones that count our steps, it’s becoming increasingly convenient to keep a track of how far we’ve walked each day. This leads people to set themselves goals and targets to maintain fitness levels. One of these targets is 10,000 steps a day. 

According to the BBC, this target originated from a Japanese fitness campaign that took place ahead of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A company launched a device, called the Manpo-Kei. Manpo translates as 10,000 steps and kei means metre. The device was an early pedometer and the academic behind the invention believed that if people increased the amount they walked each day from 5,000 steps to 10,000 steps, then they would burn an additional 500 calories each day and stay a healthy weight.

A BBC journalist decided to put this to the test. He enlisted the help of Prof. Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and they set out to test the theory against another variant called Active 10. Active 10 is an idea that suggests that three brisk ten-minute walks each day is an effective way to stay in shape. 

The journalist assembled a small group of volunteers. They were asked to wear a number of different health tracking devices and were split into two groups. One group was asked to follow the Active 10 programme and the other group were asked to complete 10,000 steps each day. They concluded that the Active 10 routine was more effective as those participants completed 30 per cent more moderate to vigorous exercise than their counterparts doing the steps challenge. 

In fairness, neither are bad ideas. It’s just that it seems Active 10 might help you that little bit more.