Health Do you monitor your daily steps?


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It's increasingly common to keep track of one's physical activity to keep fit. Walking enough everyday can help reduce your risk of these common health problems:
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
According to Healthline, to lose weight one should aim for at least 10,000 steps in a day.

mentions that "Catrine Tudor-Locke of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte has been studying pedometer walking for many years. Her research established these categories for healthy adults based on the steps per day they logged." (here is the study)

  • Sedentary Lifestyle Index: Under 5,000 steps per day is an indicator of being inactive5 and sitting too much, which raises health risks.
  • Low Active: 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day is typical of daily activity excluding sports and exercise and might be considered low active. The average American walks 5,900 to 6,900 steps per day, putting the majority in the low active category.
  • Somewhat Active: 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered somewhat active.
  • Active: 10,000 steps per day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as active. This makes it a good daily goal for healthy people who want a quick indicator they are getting in their daily exercise.
  • Highly Active: Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as highly active.
Stanford University researchers monitored the average daily steps in various countries and published their findings in Nature in 2017. I created a map of Europe based on that data.

I bought a smart watch last year. Nothing fancy. Just a Mi Fit, but it does the job well. Before I was relying on my phone to count my steps, but it's less accurate and you need to have your phone all the time on you. A smart watch also tracks your sleep, heart rate, etc. Depending on the month I walk between 7,000 and 8,000 steps on average. Of course some days I walk very little while others I make up for it walking 15,000 steps, so that's just an average.

However I am tall (1.88m, 6'2) so that lowers the number of steps compared to a shorter person. When I walk with my wife, she always ends up with about 20% more steps over exactly the same distance because shorter legs do more steps. This is also something that should be taken into account. The Stanford study found that Chinese and Japanese people had the most daily steps worldwide, but that may be simply because they are shorter. Then obviously the steps registered by Dutch and Croatian people (the tallest in the world) underestimate the actual distance walked compared to shorter populations.
Keep track of your miles rather than your steps. That way you don't have to worry about the size of the step. I try to do about 4 miles a day.

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