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Step Up the Pace to Turn a Walk into a Workout

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Walking can be a great form of exercise. It's cost effective, easy on the joints and can be done almost anywhere. But how fast does your walk need to be? A new study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that 100 steps per minute can help someone achieve a moderate intensity workout.

Volunteers wore pedometers to count their steps while they walked at various speeds on a treadmill. Heart rates were also taken during the workout to measure how hard they were working. Researchers found that 100 steps per minute was a moderate intensity workout for the average participant. For reference, the U.S. government recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

By walking 10,000 steps per day, the average person will likely get the level of exercise recommended by the CDC and American Heart Association. Pedometers are a helpful tool for counting those steps. But the problem with pedometers is that they don't measure how hard you're working. If someone has an active job (such as a waiter or a nurse), they might take all of those steps as part of their normal day. That wouldn't be considered "exercise" since it's not elevating their heart rate enough to get the health benefits that traditional cardiovascular exercise provides. But researchers found that pedometers can be helpful if people use them to count their steps and set a goal of walking 3,000 steps or more in half an hour.

Interested in starting a walking program? SparkPeople's Walking Guide has the tools and resources to get you going!

Do you walk to stay in shape? What do you do to make sure your walk is a challenge?