Obsessed with the pedometer: ‘I jog while brushing my teeth’

British researchers are concerned about the obsession associated with pedometers and activity trackers. Young people in particular would be sensitive to this. Els Bruil-van Maaren (30) does recognize this.

“Before work, I walk just as long until I have reached the 6,000 steps. First I walk with my husband and dog and then I go jogging on the treadmill for another 15 minutes,” she tells Editie NL.

“I want 10,000 before lunchtime and for dinner I often want to reach my own daily goal of 15,000.”

During brushing teeth

She is so busy with it that she sometimes steps in place when she is standing still. “While I am making tea and brushing my teeth, I happily jog on the spot so that I take some extra steps.”

She takes about 2.5 hours a day. “I do it because I just want to move enough. But on weekends I sometimes find it difficult to get enough steps.”


However, she does not go to sleep until she has achieved her goal. “Sometimes, when I visit my parents and I see that I have not taken enough steps yet, I go jogging in the area.”

If she does not meet her daily goal, Els will notice that in herself. “Then I feel a lot slower and less energetic. Sometimes I think I am too busy with it,” she admits. “But it has become such a routine that it doesn’t bother me.”

Do you really need 10,000 steps?

10,000 steps is considered the holy grail by many people, but research from Harvard Medical School contradicts that. According to the study, 4,400 steps would be enough to reduce the death rate by 41 percent.

“But that is the absolute minimum,” says exercise physiologist Thijs Eijsvogels. “The more steps you take, the more health benefits you get from it. So 10,000 is a good guideline.”

More than 10,000 steps are not necessary, he says. “You can do that if you like it, but it offers few additional benefits. With 10,000 you can really be satisfied.”


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