It seems every day we pass someone anxiously looking at their wrist to see if they are on pace to reach the coveted 10,000 steps goal. But is this really a goal worth striving for, or might there be something better?
Professor Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University performed an experiment comparing the benefits of 10,000 steps against something called “Active 10.” With Active 10 there is no step counting. The goal is to do three brisk 10-minute walks a day aiming to walk fast enough to work the heart and lungs while still being able to hold a conversation. The volunteer group was fitted with wearable fitness monitors to measure what they did and how vigorously they did it.
The group tasked with completing 10,000 steps (around 5 miles) only had 66% actually reach the goal and all found the task difficult. The Active 10 group, on the other hand, found their task relatively easy and all volunteers completed the task.
Professor Copeland analyzed the data and found that the Active 10 group actually did 30% more moderate to vigorous physical activity than the 10,000 step group. He noted, “And it’s when you are doing moderate intensity activity that you are starting to get the greatest health benefits.”
It’s worth noting that doing something is better than doing nothing, and while striving to complete 10,000 steps a day is beneficial, we can really improve our cardiovascular health by increasing the intensity with our exercise. Make your steps count!
Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT, Wellness Coordinator