Popular Exercise Routine Faces Criticism

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. regimen / ˈredʒ·ə·mən / (n) – a recommended routine

    My doctor recommended an exercise regimen of 10 push-ups and 20 squats a day.

  2. rule of thumb / ruːl ʌv θʌm / (n) – an informal practice based on experience and not on scientific studies

    Drinking eight glasses of water a day has become a rule of thumb.

  3. proponent / prəˈpoʊnənt / (n) – a person or an organization that supports an activity

    The professor is a leading proponent of free tuition.

  4. overwhelming / ˌoʊ·vərˈhwel·mɪŋ / (adj) – difficult to handle

    Many people found the new exercise routine overwhelming because it has a lot of steps.

  5. child’s play / tʃɑɪlds pleɪ / (idiom) – something that is very easy to do

    A one-kilometer jog is child’s play for a professional athlete.


Read the text below.

Health experts have criticized the effectiveness of the 10,000-step daily exercise regimen.

The exercise was developed in the 1960s following the success of a marketing campaign for a pedometer called Manpo-Kei, which literally means “10,000-step meter.” Researchers from the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare started to examine the possible benefits of taking 10,000 steps daily. The researchers concluded that a Japanese person takes a daily average of 3,500 to 5,000 steps, and increasing the number of steps to 10,000 a day could lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Researches over the years have attested to the exercise’s health benefits. Major health institutions like the American Heart Foundation and the World Health Organization have recommended it to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

However, some experts recently questioned if the 10,000 figure should be the rule of thumb. Exercise physiologist David Bassett said that the exercise’s proponents had no evidence on the effectiveness of taking 10,000 steps a day.

Additionally, Professor Catrine Tudor-Locke of the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring asserted that previous studies used only the 10,000 figure as a benchmark. Therefore, the results are limited because the effectiveness of other figures was not tested.

The exercise had also received criticism in the past. In 2015, exercise scientist Dr. Jinger Gottschall [GOT-schuhl] said that the exercise could be overwhelming for beginners. Thus, she recommended taking 3,000 steps a day for three to five days per week to get healthier. Because the exercise could be child’s play for those who are already active, Gottschall suggests increasing the length or the difficulty of the exercise to improve the overall fitness of these people.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think taking 10,000 steps a day is an overwhelming exercise regimen for you? Why or why not?
• What other alternatives to the 10,000-step exercise a day would you propose? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Why is it important to verify the effectiveness of well-known health-related regimens?
• What specific well-known health-related regimens do you think need to be verified? Why?