Do you know how many steps you take every day? Do you consider yourself an active person?
I think of myself as being active. I eat a healthy whole foods diet, go to yoga two to three days per week and I enjoy it. So while I don’t know how many steps I take each day I never worried about it for myself. I figured I was doing just fine.
I do worry about it for my patients, however.
One of the ways I set exercise goals with my patients by giving them a specific number of steps to take each day to be done in conjunction with a pedometer. A pedometer is a way measuring a how many steps you take over a period of time, usually in one day.
As a doctor I have heard that 10,000 steps a day is a goal for an active lifestyle and so that is the goal that I encouraged patients to follow. While I had no idea how far 10,000 steps are it seemed reasonable enough to me to walk 10,000 steps every day or at least five days a week.
Here is what the Journal of Sports Medicine’s 2004 article "How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health," which reports in terms of steps:
- Less than 5,000 steps per day is considered sedentary lifestyle
- 5,000-7,400 steps per day is typical for daily activity but considered ‘low active’
- 7,500-9,999 steps per day is somewhat active likely (and/or elevated occupational activity demands)
- 10,000 steps per day or more is considered active
- 12,500 steeps or more is considered highly active
Two weeks ago I was presented with a pedometer during an American Diabetes Association event.
I have never owned a pedometer and I thought it would be a fascinating experiment to see how many steps I take a day. During the last day of my work week I put on my pedometer and sat around the office writing an article like this one.
I got up to walk around a bit. By the end of the day I had accumulated a whopping 1,190 steps. When I saw the number I was at first shocked, and promptly dismissed my experiment thinking that the pedometer wasn’t working correctly.
The next day I decided to try again as I walked to the health food store with my friend who was visiting from overseas.