Sunday, 5 January 2014

How many steps a day should I be walking?

Granted, this entry is a slight departure from the usual material to be found on this blog, but I'm going to post it nevertheless. I'm a big fan of walking. I know that probably sounds a little bit obvious, but I'm actually referring to the use of walking as a tool to keeping in shape rather than just getting from A to B.

Tudor-Locke C. et al (2011) Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act.
Here in the UK (and perhaps beyond) there is quite a lot of chatter about the '10,000 steps a day' challenge (see here) and how walking seems to confer quite a lot of physical (and potentially psychological) benefits.

I know it might seem a little arbitrary to say that we should all be working towards 10,000 steps (as many of our health standards seem to be) but there is some evidence emerging that the magic number of 10,000 might be an important standard*.

Anyhow, I stumbled across the paper by Catrine Tudor-Locke and colleagues** (open-access here) who seems to be quite an important name in the area of 10,000 steps. The paper as you'll see talks about how various ages and genders seem to vary in their daily step count and onwards produce some kind of population normative standards.

It's an interesting review but what particularly took my attention in these days of infographics was the picture attached (which can be found here that I've reproduced with all rights reserved to the authors and publishing journal).

There's not too much more for me to say about it aside from 10,000 steps is a nice universal number to aim for but bear in mind this figure might not reflect the daily goal for everyone. It's also interesting that as we age so our step count goes down, which to me at least, suggests that we should all be living life a little more like when we were children (from a walking perspective).

So, with my blogging caveats of not giving medical or clinical advice in full working order, don't be afraid to put on a comfy pair of walking shoes or trainers and go and enjoy the fresh air with a pedometer if you choose or with the knowledge that 10 minutes of fairly brisk walking is equivalent to about 1000 steps...


* Tudor-Locke C. & Bassett DR Jr. How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health. Sports Med. 2004;34(1):1-8.

** Tudor-Locke C. et al. How many steps/day are enough? for children and adolescents. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011 Jul 28;8:78.

---------- Tudor-Locke C, Craig CL, Beets MW, Belton S, Cardon GM, Duncan S, Hatano Y, Lubans DR, Olds TS, Raustorp A, Rowe DA, Spence JC, Tanaka S, & Blair SN (2011). How many steps/day are enough? for children and adolescents. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 8 PMID: 21798014