Does my step count actually matter?
There’s a lot of controversy on the internet about step counts, accuracy of pedometers, benefits of walking, etc. but they all agree on one thing, movement of any kind is better than no movement at all.
We have a lot of members of rb5 who train regularly 3 or 4 times a week, they lift heavy weights and raise their heart rate; so do they really still need to get their steps in?
Short answer, yes!
Let me explain why not all movement is made equally. A recent study by Stronger By Science shows the correlation between increased step count and a decrease in the risk of all-cause mortality.
In layman’s terms, the more a person walks, statistically the less chance they have of dying anytime soon! But just because it’s associated with a better chance of survival, it’s not the only determining factor.
There’s SO many health benefits from getting out and walking more, especially within a group.
As SBS point out the,
“..meta-analysis found that group-based walking interventions, all lasting one year or less, led to significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat percentage, body mass index, total cholesterol, and depression scores, while increasing VO2max [and] 6-minute walk distance”
These are all incredible reasons showcasing why walking is so good for you!
It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being in the gym for a few hours a week is sufficient exercise to maximise longevity. What we often fail to remember is that most of us are actually pretty sedentary for the rest of the day outside of the gym.
Lifting weights, building and maintaining muscle mass and strength will almost certainly increase your chances of living longer. This kind of dedicated training is great but there is absolutely no substitute for simply moving more!
With so many of us working from home nowadays, the morning commute often consists of walking from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to the office. We take shorter breaks throughout the day as the “cafeteria” is at the end of the hall and we don’t often ‘pop out’ for lunch anymore.
Getting outside in the day is not only great for your heart health, but incredibly beneficial for your mental health too. So get out and get your steps in!
Try taking longer breaks and getting outside. Multiple studies have shown we focus for around 90 minutes and then we need to take a break from whatever we’re doing to reset to be able to fully focus and commit to our work again, for another 90 minute block. By break I mean at least a good 15 minutes, not just time to nip to the toilet or make a cuppa.
The SBS study also determined,
“walking 16,000 steps per day was associated with a 66% reduction in all-cause mortality compared to walking just 2,700 steps per day.”
There’s plenty of apps to help remind you to drink water, well why not use these to help remind you to go for a walk too! When you’re faced with problems at work, it’s often more beneficial to take a break, go for a walk and destress than to try and push through the problem. Let your mind clear and thoughts wander in and out. This is a great way to let the noise in your head calm down so you can hear the important facts and pick out the good thoughts! Who knows, you might even have an epiphany and solve that work issue!
Get out and explore, there’s so much around us locally we don’t have to go far to feel like we’re well and truly out of the city. Seek out landmarks, listen to podcasts, get out and enjoy nature at its finest! Perfect for an after work stroll.
So don’t stop going to the gym 3-4 times a week, keep lifting those weights, building muscle and strengthening your bones. But let’s not forget to help our hearts and minds too by getting out for a walk!