Be Fitness Vigilant | Does walking 10K Steps improve health?

You probably may have read or heard that walking 10,000 steps per day can improve your health.  As a personal trainer, I would say, “more steps equals more calories burned!”  In my personal goal to Be Fitness Vigilant in 2021, I wanted to explore the science behind the message and share it with you.

To answer my question, “Does walking 10,000 Steps improve your health?” I went to my go to source, The American College of Sports Medicine.

On the ACSM website, I found Kyle Sprow’s blog post titled, Daily Steps and Health | Walking Your Way to Better Health. Kyle Sprow, MPH is a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow with the National Cancer Institute. He was part of the federal staff that supported the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee and the development of the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 

In November 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services released the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The key guidelines for adults and older adults have a few main takeaways:

  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

So where did this recommendation of 10,000 Steps per day come from?  Many believe this recommendation was derived from the name of a Japanese-made pedometer sold in the 1960s called Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.” 

What is the correlation between the 10K Steps goal and the daily reccomendations for physical activity? Most people have a smart phone with a step tracker, an Apple Watch or a FitBit that tracks daily steps.  You can buy a pedometer on Amazon or at Target for less than $10.  Tracking steps is simple, but how does that translate into the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (PAGAC) goal of “150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity?” 

The PAGAC did a study reviewing the literature to better understand the relationship between steps/day and health.While more research and evidence is needed to move the findings to accurately translate into public health guidelines, “the investigators suggest that step counts in the range of 7,000 to 9,000 steps/day may result in health benefits that are similar to achieving the federally recommended amounts of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.” 

So the answer is YES! More Steps = Better Health.  To Be Fitness Vigilant, grab your smartphone, put on your AppleWatch or Fitbit and stride and strive for 10,000 steps per day!

Check out the blog post: Daily Steps and Health | Walking Your Way to Better Health