We’ve all heard that 10,000 steps may be the amount needed to maintain or improve your health through walking. But a new study pokes holes in this assumption — suggesting that, if you clock 10K regularly, you might want to up your game.
In a new cross-sectional study of 111 healthy adults, researchers in Glasgow used physical activity trackers to monitor study participants for seven days.
The idea? To see what the relationship is between metabolic risk (or those risk factors associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions), and time spent sleeping, standing or stepping.
In the end, researchers found that 15,000 — not 10 — was the amount associated with no metabolic syndrome features, including a high body mass index or waist circumference or high cholesterol.
The association between this level of movement and healthy biomarkers held up even after adjusting for age, gender, family history of heart disease, job type and socioeconomic status, all factors that can affect health markers.
The researchers write, “Compared with those without the metabolic syndrome, participants with the metabolic syndrome were significantly less active- fewer steps, shorter stepping duration and longer time sitting.”
“Our metabolism is not well-suited to sitting down all the time,” lead author William Tigbe, a physician and public health researcher at the University of Warwick, told The New York Times of the results.
He added that this level of stepping takes a good amount of effort, but is doable. It’s equivalent to about two hours of brisk walking (at about a 4 mile per hour pace).
Such an amount can be done in bits, too, helping the goal feel a little more manageable. Generally, experts say 10 minutes of walking at a time is enough to see results — provided it adds up to at least 30 minutes throughout the day (with this study suggesting that more is better).
It’s a lofty goal, but it can be done. Need some motivation? Join a Stridekick challenge for a bit of friendly competition.
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