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MEDICAL INSIGHTS: Step it up

July 16, 2018 GMT

Gretchen Reynolds , of the New York Times, has recently reviewed an article appearing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that was most interesting to read.The authors of the British publication have determined a walking cadence that coincides with what most of us would correlate with moderate intensity for sustained exercise such as walking.

Walking is the most popular form of exercise and 150 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended per week. The authors reviewed 38 controlled studies with participants whose ages ranged from 18 years to “elderly”.

Walking speeds were classified as follows, 60 to 79 steps per minute was slow, 80 to 99 was medium, 100 to 119 was brisk and greater than 120 steps per minute was vigorous.

The authors conclude that a pace of 100 steps per minute correlated consistently with moderate intensity for all participants. To check your pace all you need to do is to count your steps for 15 seconds and multiply by four.

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The authors mention that in general American adults average only about 7.7 daily steps per minute . What this means is that 4.8 hours per day average no movement or steps and 8.7 hours were recorded as one to 59 steps per minute. Sixteen minutes were spent with 60 to 79 steps per minute and 8 minutes at an 80 to 99 step cadence. Five minutes were spent at a pace of 100 to 119 steps per minute and only two minutes at a pace greater than a120 step cadence.

Therefore, in general the time spent at greater than 100 steps per minute is low and it was estimated that only 3.6 % for the population averages over 30 minutes per day at greater than 100 steps per minute.

A brisk walk at over 100 steps per minute should help you to each 70% of your maximal heart rate which is thought to be a safe and effective heart rate for maintaining good physical health through exercise. A pace of 100 steps per minute should equal about 2.7 miles per hour for most healthy adults. Walking at 130 steps per minute is considered vigorous exercise and greater than 140 steps is consistent with a jogging pace.

Therefore, you have a rather low tech way to define moderate to brisk exercise by walking at an established pace. Remember that the recommendation is for 150 minutes per week but this is the recommended minimum . There are over 1,000 minutes in a single day so keep moving and step it up a bit !