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Walk fewer steps but faster for heart health

Walk fewer steps but faster for heart health

walkingWalking faster and not so far may be all you need to keep healthy.

The accepted goal of 10,000 steps a day might not be so necessary.

Walking 3,000 steps at a brisk pace and then even 4,000 more at a slower one could be just what you need.

A new study at Oregon State University says: Brisk walking and limiting sedentary time helps cholesterol and other health risks.

Target

“A good target for healthy adults is 150 minutes per week spent at 100 or more steps per minute,” says John Schuna Jr., assistant professor of kinesiology at the College department of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“And in terms of time spent sedentary, less is better – you want to spend as little time not moving as possible within reason”, he adds.

The researchers analysed data from 3,388 participants aged 20 and older in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They looked at waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels as well as body mass index.

All groups showed a link between walking more briskly and favourable readings in the heart metabolic risk categories.

“A person who averages 10,000 or more steps/day typically accumulates at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous activity,” Schuna says.

Aerobic

Now it has been found that aerobic activity should take place in bouts of at least 10 minutes which are repeated.

“That aside, averaging 10,000 or more steps/day puts you in the top 15 percent of adults in terms of step-defined physical activity,” he stresses.

Schuna sees a future in which wearable fitness trackers will feature apps that make minute-by-minute data available to the user, as research-grade accelerometers now do to scientists.

Personalised medicine

“That’s along this paradigm of personalized medicine,” he says.

“The physical activity and sleep data we collect from wearable devices will be used to track compliance to individualized behavior prescriptions while attempting to optimize each individual’s health.”

The findings are published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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