Experts say 15000 steps per day - equivalent to a12km hike - are required to gain the maximum health boost and only if the pace is kept brisk. The figure is based on studies looking at the health of hunter-gatherers in the Tanzanian savannah and Glaswegian postmen. These found that the benefits of exercise rise the more we do and only plateau at a remarkably high level.
Evolutionary anthropologist Professor Herman Potzner, of Duke University in the US state of North Carolina, outlined the new findings in New Scientist magazine.
He said: “The 10000-step target pursued by fitness-tracker enthusiasts (was) a marketing ploy dreamed up by a Japanese manufacturer of pedometers in 1965.”
While this target was “a good start, we should strive for more”, he said.