Should I worry about my daily step count?

Classic disclaimer: I am not saying 10k is bad, I am not shaming you for being sedentary, I am not saying you should live + die by your fitness tracker.⁣

⁣I’m here to share some science on this question so let’s dive in 🏊🏻‍♀️⁣

We often see 2 camps online (I mean don’t we always 🤪) the “10k every day!!!!” And the “10k is made up and steps don’t matter”. Shocker: both are technically half wrong.⁣

Based on a few large papers that retrospective looked at daily step vs causes of mortality or disease/sickness our daily step needs decrease risk pretty rapidly for anything legitimately more than doing nothing, with some rapid increase between 4K-7k & a gradual plateauing. ⁣

⁣Furthermore, lack of activity is actually pretty dang bad for our muscles and metabolic health. With other reports showing these benefits of muscle preservation & glucose regulation occurring around a similar 7k threshold. Other data not shown here also shows drastic reductions in metabolic flexibility/health when steps are reduced to 0-2k/day. ⁣

⁣So while 10k + is NOT a bad target, general health risks are decreased at almost anything >7.5k give or take. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move more, moving more is good and not harmful. We’re made to move!⁣

⁣My biggest personal issue with step only goals however is it misses the benefits of working in other energy systems or loading our muscles with weight. We should move more often, walk more, etc! Walking IS GOOD, but fitness isn’t just walking and we should aim to work a little harder a few times a week at the least as well for metabolic/muscle health + decrease disease risk! ⁣

⁣Lastly — breaking up your sitting is important. Steps are good. Small “snacks” of fitness between sitting is good for us! Contracting muscles can help uptake glucose between meals + keep us feeling good.⁣

And one final reminder: walking is good for our health, but fitness is more than walking!

Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.