May 31, 2019

The source of the myth that you need 10,000 steps a day is a Japanese clockmaker that marketed a pedometer called Manpo-kei in 1965.

There's no more science to it than that. Read Marketwatch, here.

Believing hitting the 10,000 number might motivate you to push a little further or to do it every day. Sorry to spoil that for you. But did you actually believe that 10,000 was magical?

Do you have any beliefs involving numbers? Do you know the point at which it deserves to be called "arithomania"? It would be funny if your answer to that last question had a number in it? (It's arithmomania when you've got 10 beliefs about numbers.)
Arithomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Individuals suffering from this disorder have a strong need to count their actions or objects in their surroundings. Sufferers may for instance feel compelled to count the steps while ascending or descending a flight of stairs or to count the number of letters in words. They often feel it is necessary to perform an action a certain number of times to prevent alleged calamities. Other examples include counting tiles on the floor or ceiling, the number of lines on the highway, or simply the number of times one breathes or blinks, or touching things a certain number of times such as a door knob or a table....
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why/Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They've all come to look for Arithomania....

IN THE COMMENTS: EDH brings up Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule and "New Study Destroys Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule." And Limited blogger said "I always thought 10,000 Maniacs was an unusually large number of maniacs." Here's the Wikipedia article "10,000" where you can make many discoveries about the meaning of 10,000. I'll just pick one, from Taoism:
The great Tao covers everything like a flood.
It flows to the left and to the right.
The ten thousand things depend upon it
and it denies none of them.
It accomplishes its task yet claims no reward.
It clothes and feeds the ten thousand things
yet it does not attempt to control them.
Therefore, it may be called "the little."
The ten thousand things return to it,
even though it does not control them.
Therefore, it may be called "the great."

So it is that the True Person does not wish to be great
and therefore becomes truly great.

42 comments:

NCMoss said...

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer ...

Amadeus 48 said...

I kinda liked 10,000 steps as goal--it's a bit over four miles for me. The real point is to do a bit more. I can't get there unless I take a walk.

Is there more science in 10,000 steps than in catastrophic AGW? Maybe. Let's ask a "scholar" or an "expert." Maybe we'll settle for what "some say." What does Justice Thomas think?

Wince said...

New Study Destroys Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule

The 10,000 Hour Rule — closely associated with pop psych writer Malcolm Gladwell— may not be much of a rule at all.
The principle holds that 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any field.

When psychologists talk about deliberate practice, they mean practicing in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible.

In " Outliers," Gladwell contends that early access to getting 10,000 hours of practice allowed the Beatles to become the greatest band in history (thanks to playing all-night shows in Hamburg) and Bill Gates to become one of the richest dudes around (thanks to using a computer since his teen years).

But a new Princeton study tears that theory down. In a meta-analysis of 88 studies on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains.

stevew said...

I never trust conveniently round numbers. Though this one is harmless enough; doubt anyone gets sick or dies from too many or too few steps. All those one size fits all diet fads though...

Michael Ryan said...

So, my counting the number of dishes I wash each night isn't exactly normal?

JAORE said...

"... that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains."

When you are talking about true expertise a 12 percent gap is HUGE.

If Bill Gates were 12 percent less talented would be have been.....

stevew said...

I like numbers, I collect them (daily weigh in, miles driven per tank of gas) and analyze them (charts and graphs and such), but I don't have BELIEFS about them. Maybe because I was born on the 13th of the month and always rejected the notion that that number is bad luck.

Limited blogger said...

I always thought 10,000 Maniacs was an unusually large number of maniacs.

tcrosse said...

10,000 steps is the world's most complex alcoholism treatment program.

Wince said...

In "Outliers," Gladwell contends that early access to getting 10,000 hours of practice allowed the Beatles to become the greatest band in history... But a new Princeton study tears that theory down.

Still, it would be unfair to call all of these "10,000 Rule" proponents, ahem, "out-and-out liars".

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

What does this say about Minnesotans ?

JustSomeOldDude said...

I've been walking a minimum 10,000 steps per day for about 7 years now, and the most profound evidence I have that it's worthwhile isn't in the current doing of it, but when I started. Hitting that goal was downright painful for me, and it took weeks to work up to it. Now that I'm 25 pounds lighter, with my Type II diabetes, joint pain and planar fasciitis under control, I'm very happy that I took the first step to get to 10,000 and have kept that goal as a daily goal for so long.

The goal was just that, a goal. Now, I've gotten back to swimming (fast, not languid) and I've got goals for that, just as I have goals for my other exercises. They are not as religiously hit each day as my 10,000 steps are, but they are still goals.

Goals for anything in life are generally math based, even if it's something like "I want to get my (1) PhD by the age of 45". For those of us who have goals, it's a means of saying that I've done what I set out to do. It has nothing to do with some magical belief that I will not have gotten into shape if I only hit 9,999 per day. That's just silliness.

Roy Jacobsen said...

"8 glasses of water a day!"

There is NO scientific basis for that number. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-glasses-of-water-per-day

wholelottasplainin' said...

My wife thinks "444" is a lucky number---never mind that I inform her the Chinese and Japanese consider the numeral four (shi) an UNlucky number; in their languages it is a homophone for the word "death" (also shi).

That's why sets of their plates traditionally consist of five pieces. I've got some very nice old sets missing one piece.

Menahem Globus said...

I try to edit sentences down so that in their entirety they contain a number of characters, including spaces and punctuation, that are divisible by three.

^Original Version

I try to edit sentences down so that, in their entirety, they contain a number of characters, including spaces and punctuation, that are divisible by three.

^Crazy Version



William said...

I think it's better,starting from scratch, to have a million dollars than to owe a million dollars. More fool I. Research clearly shows that only self confident, optimistic people would go a million dollars in the hole and that only the miserly could acquire a million dollars with their joyless abstinence.

traditionalguy said...

Being born in Dixie, like counting by tens. And ten thousand also honors the millennials.

wild chicken said...

I learned in Inductive Logic that 1500 was pretty decent sample size, that results flatten out after that.

And that's as close as I ever got to a statistics class.

WK said...

I am sure scientists will review and eventually determine it is 9,324 steps a day that are needed. Then it will be peer reviewed and adjusted to 9,654. And then someone will discover that the average step length has decreased over the past fifty years. Younger generations not stepping forward as have passed generations. But science.......

Ignorance is Bliss said...

stevew said...

I never trust conveniently round numbers.

So you trust zero conveniently round numbers? How convenient...

CJinPA said...

Insanity.
Numbers.
Simon and Garfunkel.
Superstition.

That was my entry verbatim at last night's Spoken Word Contest.

stevew said...

:-)

Gospace said...

Having run track and played tournament chess in HS, the 10,000 hour rule always seemed silly to me. At best, 10,000 hours of practice will bring you to the peak of what you can do; there's no guarantee at all no matter how hard you work or how much you dedicate yourself to a skill or sport that you'll get to an elite competitive level.

The best miler on our HS track team ran 4:10 miles- in HS. Everyone else was 5 minutes and over. And practiced just as hard. Watching him run, he ran differently then the rest of us. I can't quantify exactly what it was, but his movements were more fluid, and there was less up and down with his body as he ran. Running was natural to him.

In the 3 years or HS the same 4 people were the top 4 chess players in the school. Two of them devoted time, lots of time, to studying past games and reading books on chess strategies, and could set a board up 5 moves in to a standard game. The other two of us didn't. Our relative rankings never changed. #1, who studied chess, was always #1. As was #4. #2 and #3 (me and the other non-studier) switched back and forth, and we never did determine who was actually better. #1 did eventually become a chess master, but his rating has since dropped.

Some people simply are better than others at some skills and activities because genetics makes them that way. World class sprinters have different leg muscle make up than world class long distance runners. Reportedly best hitters in baseball can see which way the seams on the balls are turning as it comes toward them. I can't even see the seams in slo-pitch softball. Some people start lifting weights and within weeks, without steroid use, you can see increased muscle mass. Others- not so much. They get stronger, to a point, but don't get increased muscle size.

By age 10 you can pick out the kids who are going to be at the top of their HS class, who are going to be at the bottom. Who's going to be the HS athletic stars, and who's not going to make the team at all. The vat middle, the athletes who aren't the stars, the kids with good grades, who aren't in the top 10, they're the ones to whom studying and practice will make a difference- relative to each other. Practice will make you better until you reach your limit. Practice past that does nothing.

Jeff said...

69 with the right partner can be pretty fun, and of course there's always the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, 42.

Bill Peschel said...

"In "Outliers," Gladwell contends that early access to getting 10,000 hours of practice allowed the Beatles to become the greatest band in history."

If Gladwell said this, what little respect I had for him vanished. The hours of practice in Munich honed them as a tight-knit band, but it was their obsessive absorption of a wide range of music, politics, religion, even the detritus of day to day life (e.g., John Lennon writing parts of Sgt. Pepper from news clippings, a circus poster, and his son's drawing), plus the genius of George Martin as their producer, is what made their music immortal.

As for the 10,000 steps, so what? We use the WiiFit, which is criticized as ineffectual, and yet it keeps us moving, keeps our weight down, gives my wife and I time together talking or listening to podcasts (and discussing same), and keeps us mindful that as we get older we need to watch our health.

I spent too many years in media to recognize that the beast always needs to be fed, so there's always going to be new moral crusades launched, more "studies" warning that we're going to die from something (sitting at our desks was a genius move for sparking anxiety). Remember when carpel tunnel syndrome was a big thing?

Just yesterday, it was revealed that the vast majority of people who died from opoid deaths had a number of other drugs in their system, many of them illegal. Does this mean they'll ease the restrictions on otherwise healthy people who desperately need pain relief? Of course not!

"Don't follow leaders, watch the lying mediaers!"

Fernandinande said...

So you trust zero conveniently round numbers?

Zero is the absence of numbers.

I try to edit sentences down so that, in their entirety, they contain a number of characters, including spaces and punctuation, that are divisible by three.

That's a great idea!!

Yancey Ward said...

I would say that long before you reach 10,000 hours of total practice, you will have realized whether or not you have world class talent, and have moved on to practice something else if you don't.

bleh said...

Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

What's with that number?

raf said...

... to count the number of letters in words.

Scrabblephilia, rather.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

I have arythmia-- does that count?

Marcus Bressler said...

I like to proceed in sexual encounters until I hit the magic number 69.

THEOLDMAN (junior high humor)

stevew said...

I'm with you Yancey Ward, the difference between the best in world and everyone else isn't the number of hours they invested in practice. Might be the difference between #1 and #2, but that's about it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Myriad!

JackOfClubs said...

Saul has his thousands and David his ten thousands. For the record, I wear a pedometer and it has a definite benefit. 10,000 steps is not magical but it equates to between 5 and 5.5 miles of walking per day depending on how tall you are. On days when I can't get out of the office I generally clock about 2500 or so just doing routine stuff. So far this year I have averaged about 11K steps which means I am getting about four miles per day of exercise that I wouldn't otherwise. Having a specific number sets an achievable goal that easily becomes part of a routine. God bless the Japanese clockmaker, whatever the science says.

J. Farmer said...

Before the 10,000 steps nonsense, the big thing was 8 glasses of water every day. I used to know women who bought 64 oz bottles expressly for this purpose.

Nichevo said...

You should try Judaism. When the Bible wants to indicate "a lot" they just use "seventy." Right, Daniel?

Narr said...

"Zero" is the nothing that is--book title, as mathy as I can take and then a little.

Wife obsesses on her step count, as well as all the other exercise she started subjecting herself to in middle age (neither of us were much for sport or exercise). I approve of the results; I just walk about five miles or so over a day, between posts here.

I never believed that 10k hours would make anyone a virtuoso anything--the notion is ludicrous on its face and I haven't felt bad for not following Gladwell's work.

Narr
I think I've convinced her that the Body Mass Index is a nonsense

I Use Computers to Write Words said...

On Daoism:

10,000 is a very round number in both China and Japan, kind of equivalent to how 1,000 is the base unit for millions, billions, trillions, etc. Further, "the ten thousand things" is an extremely common idiom in Classical Chinese (and possibly modern Chinese, but I wouldn't know; I've only studied Classical Chinese) meaning roughly "everything", though emphasizing their diversity. Claiming a unity to the ten thousand things is one of the most common threads of most of ancient Chinese philosophy.

As an aside, if you get interested in Daoism, the Dao de Jing is lovely, but I think Zhuangzi is absolutely delightful, and has a playfulness similar to your own. He would have laughed at your treason/trees in realization.

Bob Loblaw said...

I am sure scientists will review and eventually determine it is 9,324 steps a day that are needed. Then it will be peer reviewed and adjusted to 9,654.

Well, sure, but at least they might have something to back it up instead of just picking the roundest number of about the right magnitude.

D. B. Light said...

A recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that whatever health benefits accrued from walking they capped out at around 4,400 steps. Walking speed did not seem to have any affect -- slow=walkers got just as much benefit as fast-walkers.

Earnest Prole said...

Is this one of those stupid stories where the actual number of steps is 9,876?

stlcdr said...

10,000.

“It’s over nine thousand!”

Also: that’s the number of zombies you must kill (see Ten-Kay, or 10K, in Z Nation).