Recent research shows that the aim of taking 10,000 steps per day as recorded on a pedometer is more effective than a target to walk 30-minutes per day. It appears easier to keep track of the 10,000 steps concept because even on days when people dont exercise they still have a high count of steps. While it may not seem like much energy to take a step, if you add them all up day by day and week by week it can amount to a lot of calories from incidental exercise and this equals weight loss!
Pedometers keep track of how far a person walks or runs. They are small electronic devices that clip easily onto your belt and are activated each time you step. The current recommendation is to take 10,000 steps a day, and this seems to be the best motivation to be active for people who don't usually like to exercise!
A study of 58 women by researcher Dixie Thompson and colleagues in the ACSM Journal found that women generally lacked enough exercise in their day, tending to take on average 5,760 steps per day. Researchers say 'at the very least, a person ought to get 30 minutes of exercise every day. That's about 10,000 steps'. The participants in the study were told to take a brisk 30-minutes walk on most, preferably all days of the week. Each participant was then given a sealed pedometer, so they could not read it, to record how many steps they took. The women were told to walk 10,000 steps everyday.
Half the group were also given a second pedometer that showed then how many steps they were taking. 'Women told to take a 30-minutes walk averaged about 10,000 steps - but only on days they actually took a walk', researchers report. On other days, they tended to sit around as usual.
The women given a pedometer and told to walk 10,000 steps every day averaged about 12,000 steps on days they actually went for a walk. But even on days they didn't manage to go walking, they still upped their step total to about 8,000 steps. 'Pedometers are quite popular now, and with good reason,' Thompson says. 'Our study shows they can provide an incentive for people to increase their activity levels. Study participants who monitored their daily steps with pedometers tended to walk more every day, even when they were below their goal of 10,000 steps per day.'
Source: Hultquist, C.N. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, April 2005; vol 37: pp 678-683. News release, American College of Sports Medicine.
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