Walking 10,000 Steps a Day is “Irrelevant,” If You’re Not Doing This One Thing

Walking is an inexpensive, enjoyable approach to increase your level of activity. However, if you really want to benefit, research reveals there are other factors to take into account in addition to your daily step count.

Joanna Hall, the founder of WalkActive and a sports scientist, says it’s crucial to monitor your cadence, or the number of steps you take in a minute, even if you walk 10,000 steps a day.

“The quantity of your steps is irrelevant if you’re not walking with the correct technique [using Hall’s four walking tips] and at the correct step rate,” she states.

According to research, there is a minimum amount of steps you must take each minute to experience benefits to your physiological health. One hundred steps per minute is that figure.

“This figure of 100 steps a minute is the minimum threshold, and the range goes up to about 130. If you’re walking at about 125-128 steps per minute, that’s been shown to be equivalent to your body as if you were doing a light jog. 

“If you apply great technique and get smart with your cadence, you can turn your walk into a workout.”

As I discovered when I walked 10,000 steps a day for a year, walking has advantages beyond its physiological effects. However, scientific evidence demonstrates that Hall’s counsel is worthwhile if you’re looking for tangible results.

Walking at a pace of 100 steps per minute or more, according to the study, “represents a reasonable floor value” for moderate-intensity physical activity.

This is significant since the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that for “substantial benefits,” adults should engage in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.
But nobody wants to spend an otherwise pleasurable walk worryingly calculating their steps. Unfortunately, neither the finest Apple watch nor the greatest Garmin watch could provide me with real-time data cadence. I even downloaded a metronome app, but that turned out to be as annoying and useless.

Heart rate seems to be the easiest to use among the top fitness trackers, but there are other ways to gauge how hard you’re working out during your workouts.

A moderate-intensity exercise should increase your heart rate to 50–70% of its maximum, according to a Concordia University paper (you may calculate your maximum heart rate by deducting your age from 220).

As you log miles, any wearable that lives up to the hype will show you your heart rate in real time on your wrist. You can use this information to assess whether or not your walk is working you out.

What Advantages Does Walking Offer?

Joanna Hall, a sports scientist, talks about the physiological advantages of walking. However, what does that actually mean?

According to the data, controlling your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, hypertension, all-risk mortality, and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease are all beneficial for your health.

The cardiovascular benefits are supported by a 2023 meta-analysis that examined 17 research with a total of 226,889 participants and was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Higher daily step counts were found to be substantially associated with lower mortality from cardiovascular disease and all causes combined.

Walking is another weight-bearing exercise that, according to the Harvard Medical School, can assist maintain strong lower body bones to lessen your chance of injury. However, it won’t have the same impact as high-impact exercises or a thorough strength training program.

Additionally, it increases energy expenditure by activating the major muscles in your legs, such as the hamstrings on the rear of the thigh, the quadriceps on the front, and the glutes in your back. When combined with a suitable diet, this can help achieve weight loss objectives.