Physical activity monitors make daily step counting an easy way to monitor and set physical activity goals. Steps can be at a light-, moderate- or vigorous-intensity level, providing a range of walking speeds to promote physical activity at all ages and levels of fitness. Since steps are an easy-to-understand measure of physical activity, exploring the relationship between daily step counts and health is important. In one of the new ACSM pronouncements published in May, investigators reviewed the current scientific research examining the association between daily step counts and health and found those who accumulated more steps per day were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and experience premature mortality.
While more evidence is needed before the findings can be translated into specific public health guidelines, investigators suggest that daily step counts in the range of 7,000–9,000 may result in health benefits similar to achieving the federally recommended amounts of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Detailed information can be found in “Daily Step Counts for Measuring Physical Activity Exposure and Its Relation to Health,” one of ACSM’s 14 new pronouncements that present the science behind the updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.