Why track steps?

If we consider that our daily workout is only 30 minutes of our day, the majority of our energy expenditure (or ‘calorie burn’) comes in the other 23.5 hours of the day.

Non-exercise energy thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to the energy expended in our other daily activities, e.g., walking to work, shopping in the mall. Walking is the main source of NEAT for most people and as the old saying goes, ‘what gets measured, gets managed’. Tracking steps can help keep you accountable for your activity levels the rest of the day. Simply walking more can help with heart health, muscle strength, sleep, endurance and mental health, along with increasing energy expenditure.

As a low stress and low impact activity it is very doable for most people. An intense strength or cardio workout is likely to be too much to perform every day but hitting a certain number of steps can be an everyday goal. Similarly, running gets all the glory from a weight loss and fitness point of view, but walking puts less stress on the joints, particularly the knees and is likely to be more sustainable long term. The benefit of keeping active throughout the day with low intensity movement such as walking, is likely to outweigh the benefits of completing one 30-minute workout then spending the rest of the day slumped on the couch. Having a step goal can ensure that, even after your workout is complete, you are keeping active throughout the day.

You may have heard the ‘10,000 steps per day’ target. While there’s no exact science to say this is the magic number, there is research to show that increasing steps can improve health outcomes. Perhaps consider what your current average daily step count is and aim to increase it by 500 each week. Your overall daily activity is just as important as your 30 minute workouts!

References

Health check – do we really need take 10000 steps a day

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12468415/

Counting every step you take.

https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(10)00206-0/fulltext

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141274