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Is 10,000 Steps a Day Enough?

January 18, 2018 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Is 10,000 Steps a Day Enough?

Counting steps is easier than ever. We have access to pedometers, smart phone apps, and fitness trackers to help us stay on track.

For a lot of us, hitting that 10,000 step mark is a badge of pride! Yup, you’ve had an active day, so pat yourself on the back. But, is 10,000 steps all the activity you need to achieve health benefits?

Not exactly.

It’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week. For example, this could be five 30 minute bouts of activity in a week.

The key part of the recommended 150 minutes is that your activity needs to make your heart pump faster and make you breathe harder. This is referred to as moderate to vigorous intensity. So, while you may be taking 10,000 steps per day, you may not actually be getting the increased intensity your body needs to maintain good health. In other words, getting lots of steps in is good, but it’s also important to increase how hard your body is working in your chosen activity.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     If you’re just starting out with physical activity, getting 10,000 steps is a great first goal. Once you start reaching that on a regular basis, consider doing some moderate (walking briskly, biking on flat roads, doubles tennis) to vigorous intensity (swimming laps without stopping, running, singles tennis) activities each week.

It’s important to do strength training each week too. Consider doing a few sessions per week to strengthen your muscles and bones. Focus on major muscle groups such as your legs, back, arms, chest, and core.

Reaching your daily 10,000 steps is a good way to avoid the sitting disease, especially since many of us have sedentary jobs. If you are struggling to reach 10,000 steps, there are some fun ways to reach this goal:

The take home message is, move more and sit less! Accumulate at least 10,000 steps, and strive to meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines every day.


Related blogs

9 Ideas That Will Make You Want to Take a Walk

Recommended resources

HealthLinkBC: Fitness: Walking for Wellness

 

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