10,000 steps a day will not get you fit. Here’s what will

It’s no secret that daily exercise is important (regardless of how much do you hate her), and walking is a particularly great form of exercise: it’s low-impact and effective. But is 10,000 steps really the magic number?

within fitness tracker For users, 10,000 moves a lot – as in, try to walk a total of 10,000 steps (about five miles) each day, including all of your usual daily activities. And yes, the everyday little things that you do to move more each day are important. For example, choosing to walk to work, park away or climb stairs counts toward your activity, and it’s great that our technology helps us see that.

But are there any real health benefits to getting 10,000 steps every day? or does How Do you make them more important? What about other exercises you do that don’t give you more steps? This is what science and experts have to say.

Exercise isn’t one-size-fits-all

Since everyone is different and has a unique lifestyle, activity level, and goals, it stands to reason that not everyone will need the same amount of exercise every day to be healthy. Part of this comes down to each person’s individual goals and health concerns. But for the average person, is 10,000 steps a day really enough to be considered active and healthy? It could be a great goal and place to start, according to Professor Paul Gordon, an exercise physiologist and chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Baylor University.

“The average person would take 3,000 to 6,000 steps over the course of a day from commuting, shopping, etc. Adding 30 minutes of exercise (about 3,000 steps) brings us to about 10,000 steps,” Jordan said. He also added that when it comes to walking, more is better for your health.

So what if you’re not just walking for exercise (or even tracking your steps at all), how much exercise do you really need? as To the Department of Health and Human ServicesYou need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (such as running or cardio and dance classes) each week. The DHHS also recommends doing strength training exercises (such as lifting weights or doing exercises that use your own body weight) twice a week.

Consider whether your goal is to achieve physical fitness or other aesthetic goals, you You may need to practice more From the standard 150 minutes to reach your goal.

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Where did 10,000 steps a day come from?

The 10,000-step recommendation has been mainstream for some time, but have you ever wondered where it originally came from? While you might expect the recommendation to come from a medical source or a government health agency, it turns out that’s not the case at all.

Speaking at a fitness industry event Michelob Ultra . movementA sports medicine doctor, Dr. Jordan Metzel says the 10,000 step number is arbitrary. The number has roots that you can track to a Japanese walking club that adopted the term as part of a marketing slogan.

a JAMA Internal Medicine Article He also notes that there is “limited scientific basis” to support the claim that taking 10,000 steps per day is essential for health. But the study found that participants who took more steps per day (over four years) had a lower death rate than those who took fewer steps.

The best way to track your daily activity

If you have FitbitAnd the Apple Watch Or another smartwatch, you know these devices can track a lot more than just your steps. And while tracking your total steps and distance each day is helpful, could other factors be a more effective way to measure your activity? According to Jordan, steps are not the best measure of physical activity. “It does not take into account activity intensity and is not effective for non-weight-bearing forms of activity (eg cycling).”

Since the steps can’t take into account your level of severity, Jordan also recommends using heart rate monitor To help you measure exercise intensity. After all, you can technically get 10,000 steps a day without raising your heart rate or maintaining it for too long. “I would encourage engaging in weekly activities that will do just that Increased heart rate for a continuous period of time. “Having a balanced exercise routine may seem like doing Activity that raises your heart rate (such as brisk walking or running) four days a week, and going to yoga classes two days a week to work on strength and flexibility.

Comparison of Apple watches with examples of screens.

Your Apple Watch isn’t just about steps—it takes care of how much time you spend moving each day.

Angela Lang / CNET

Is there a better goal to aim for more than 10,000 steps per day?

If 10,000 steps a day seems like a random goal now, what are some good goals to work towards when it comes to being active? One factor that can actually make a big difference to your health has nothing to do with the number of steps you take, but rather the amount of time you spend sitting. “Studies have shown that prolonged sitting is in and of itself unhealthy, even if you perform a daily bout. So scattering the activity throughout the day is very helpful.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends that you strive to actively divide the time you spend each day sitting, even if you’re getting the recommended amount of exercise each day. Sitting for long periods is associated with an increased risk of metabolic problems and can affect your health.

additional, recent study It found that people who sat for more than 13.5 hours per day failed to reap some health benefits from one hour of exercise, because their overall activity level was so low compared to the time they spent sitting.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.