SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- While walk 10,000 steps a day is the popular target, researchers suggest that a smaller number, especially at moderate or greater intensity, can lead to health benefits too.
"Some physical activity is better than none, and typically more is better than less," said John Schuna Jr., assistant professor of kinesiology in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences of Oregon State University (OSU) and co-author of a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. "When it comes to steps, more is better than fewer, and steps at higher cadences for a significant amount of time are beneficial.
"A good target for healthy adults is 150 minutes per week spent at 100 or more steps per minute," Schuna said. A person who averages 10,000 or more steps per day typically accumulates at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous activity.
A cadence of 100 steps per minute or greater is widely accepted as the threshold for moderate-intensity activity in adults.
Based on an analysis of data from 3,388 participants age 20 and older in a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers believe it is especially helpful if 3,000 of the steps come at a brisk pace, and limiting sedentary time also plays a role in healthy readings for cholesterol and other risk factors.
In the study, the researchers looked into the relationships between step-defined physical activity and various cardiometabolic risk factors for the survey participants, such as waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin, and cholesterol levels, as well as body mass index.
"Current evidence does suggest that moderate to vigorous activity and sedentary time have a certain amount of independence from each other in terms of health effects," he said. "But if you're getting two or three hours of moderate to vigorous activity every day, even if you're relatively sedentary the rest of the time, it's hard to imagine the sedentary time would completely ameliorate or wipe out the health benefits associated with that level of activity."
The average American takes between 5,000 and 7,000 steps per day.