I have been pushing myself to hit 10,000 steps a day. But a new study shows I have probably been wasting my time
Wed 31 Jan 2018 09.01EST Last modified on Wed 31 Jan 2018 17.00EST
My friend taunted me yesterday. It was no perceived slight, or joke gone wrong. I got a notification on the Fitbit app on my phone: Emily Wtaunted you.
Emily has worn her Fitbit for a year. I got one to beat her. With 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) held up as the benchmark of an active lifestyle, it is a healthy outlet for our innate competitiveness or so I had thought as I walked in circles around my small flat late at night, grimly determined to reach my daily goal of 12,000 steps before bed.
My view was that the more steps a day, the better, but fewer than 10,000 and you might as well be dead. So I am dismayed by the news that Imay have been wasting my time.
According to the BBC documentary The Truth About Getting Fit, the hours I dedicate each day to my pursuit of step supremacy could have less impact on my health than fewer walks at abrisker pace. Host Michael Mosley and researchers from Sheffield Hallam University conducted an experiment, tasking one group of volunteers with taking 10,000 steps a day, and another with three brisk 10-minute walks (about 3,000 steps).
The 10,000 steppers not only struggled to meet their daily goal but broke less of a sweat than those doing the Active 10, who achieved 30% more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity despite moving for less time.
More concerning, in my steps-centric view, are the programmes findings on high-intensity interval training (HIIT), with a short burst of activity such as a sprint apparently as effective as a 45-minute run. Even worse: people who cycled for just 40 seconds three times a week recorded a quantifiable improvement in their fitness levels, and potentially a reduced risk of heart disease. I dont need to work it out for you, but I will: that is two minutes of exercise aweek. Total.
Meanwhile, I am at the midpoint of my challenge with Emily, battling to see who can walk the farthest in a working week. At the time of writing, I am 73 steps ahead of her. Maybe we should settle it in one quick sprint instead.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/jan/31/is-it-time-to-ditch-the-fitbit