Everyone may know that the magic number is 10,000 steps per day but did you know that there’s more to it? Are you a slow or fast walker and why does it matter? A new study has shown that walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day led to greater health benefits compared to walking a similar number of steps at a slower pace. Walking between 80 and 100 steps per minute is considered “brisk” walking (moderate intensity) and has shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. Many people may think that cardio training has to involve high intensity running or jogging, but this recent study suggests that brisk walking offer similar heart health benefits as jogging similar distances. This study showed that participants who averaged a brisk walking pace resulted in better health benefits compared to those who walked similar number of steps but at a slower pace.
If an individual were to aim at 10,000 steps per day, then the goal would to be brisk walking about 25-50% of that daily total step count. There have also been similarities in health benefits of brisk walking compared to jogging. Although brisk walking takes longer than running, individuals may feel safer and more comfortable walking at different speeds than running at a steady pace. If a person is able to have a conversation but struggles to sing, then it would be considered moderate intensity or brisk walking.
Next time you go out for a walk, have a little pep in your step and mix up your walking paces. You don’t have to speed walk for the entire duration but add in intervals of brisk walking into your daily walks. Incorporate short bursts of brisk walking into your exercise routine and watch your cardiovascular health improve.