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Step Counting: Stepping Up Your Health

Caitlin Suter, MS

Does reaching your daily step goal contribute to good health? It doesn’t hurt, but it’s worth exploring how to make the most of your step goal. You might have noticed that one of the features of the Noom program is daily step tracking. You might even be wondering what impact steps have on your health, how many steps you should be getting in a day, what happens if you don’t reach your step goal, etc.

First, let’s talk about physical activity…

Part of getting healthy and staying healthy is not only making smart food choices, but exercising too. It’s recommended for substantial health benefits that adults complete at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity OR 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.

How do steps fit into those guidelines?

When it comes down to it, steps are a form of movement, and movement is important to avoid the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. However, to count steps as moderate-intensity you would need to walk at a brisk pace of at least 2.5 miles per hour or up that brisk walk to a jog or a run for them to count as vigorous intensity.

What if steps can’t be recorded?

Have you ever found yourself getting a little worked up when your steps weren’t recorded because you forgot to wear your fitness tracker or maybe you didn’t bring your phone with you on an intentional walk? Don’t stress! Steps can be measured by distance too:

  • 2000 steps = roughly 1 mile
  • 5000 steps = roughly 2.5 miles
  • 10,000 steps = roughly 5 miles

And if you’re not sure of the distance you walked, make sure to add that walk as an exercise into your app based on the TIME you spent walking to get credit for that movement!

What about activities that don’t require steps?

Tracking steps isn’t always enough. You may not have reached your step goal by days end, but consider the other movements you’ve made throughout the day that don’t require steps, and fall into a range of moderate or vigorous intensity. Some of these activities can range from swimming, cycling, chair exercises, water aerobics, household cleaning, laundry, jumping rope, home repairs, some forms of yard work and yoga, and more.

Not all steps are created equal, but…

Whether it’s steps or another physical activity, make the most of your movement throughout the day to improve your health!

Author: Caitlin Suter, MS