Ah the coveted 10,000 steps per day! But why?
Did you know this ideal of 10,000 steps started off as a marketing tool for a pedometer in 1964? Nonetheless, this idea has persisted and the conventional wisdom is we should aim for 10,000 steps each day.
What the Studies Say
Since then, a study actually showed that mortality rates progressively improve before levelling off at approximately 7500 steps per day 👣 Based on this, don't stress over the difference between 8000 and 10000 steps in the day.
Of course, we should consider quality of life as a motivating factor for exercise too. Another study found that an increase in physical activity through accumulating 10,000 steps daily improved physical and mood states, including measures such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and anger.
If you aren't getting at least 7500 steps in per day, try:
- Parking your car further away 🚗
- Go for a walk while on a call 📞
- Take the stairs when able 🚶
- Drink more water = more trips to the washroom 🥤
Are steps the best measure of physical activity?
There are many ways to be active beyond getting in your steps!
Consider that going for a 100k bike ride = no steps!
For adults, ages 18-64, the Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines emphasize that all movement matters. Doing an intense workout in the morning then sitting all day doesn't necessarily equate to being an active individual!
Beyond step goals, consider:
- Moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activities such that there is an accumulation of at least 150 minutes per week
- Several hours of light physical activities, including standing
- Muscle strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week
- Breaking up long periods of sitting
All in all, steps aren’t everything - do whatever form of activity is the most enjoyable for YOU, making sure you engage in some form of moderate-vigorous exercise weekly! 🚲🏃🏋️🥋🥎
(Sources: Harvard Health, Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, and CSEP)