Why 10,000 Steps a Day for Better Fitness Isn’t Enough

For many people, fitness is defined as the number of steps they can get in a single day, and the magic number is 10,000. There’s plenty of debate about that number, which is attributed to the marketing strategy for a Japanese pedometer sold in the 1960s. But the fact remains – instead of taking laps around the living room to hit that arbitrary milestone, you’re much better off spending your time with other forms of exercise. Here’s why 10,000 steps a day for fitness isn’t enough.

Recommended Exercise

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has no step recommendation at all. Instead, it recommends that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. But that’s not all. The agency also recommends two or more days of strength training per week.

Think about it. You’ll get a much better workout – with far fewer steps – in a gym setting, for about the same amount of time it would take to hit those 10,000 steps. Performing high-intensity strength training is the key to losing visceral fat, which is linked to long-term health complications and premature death.

The Real Drawback to 10,000 Steps a Day

One of the problems with the 10,000 steps per day focus is that a pedometer counts every step as a step. It doesn’t matter if you took those steps at a brisk clip or while you walked from the bed to the sofa. That’s why the American College of Sports Medicine doesn’t consider step counts to be accurate measures of exercise quality, nor does it recommend that they be used as the only benchmark of your physical activity. In fact, you could be reaching 10,000 steps every day and still not meet current exercise recommendations. Seems like a big waste of time!

If your step counter means the difference between taking the stairs or the escalator, keep it. But remember that the real change for improved fitness and health will come with the kind of movement that makes you break a sweat combined with consistent weight-bearing exercise. And that’s where a personal trainer may come in handy. The certified professionals at Framework Personal Training in Reno are ready to help.

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