A lot of people are fixated on logging 10,000 steps a day to maintain their health. If moving around that much is not feasible for you, don't fret — according to research, fewer but faster steps can still do a lot of good for your body.

In a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers reiterated that more steps is better overall, but getting some level of physical activity is better than getting none at all. In the case of walking for health, logging just 3,000 steps (but done at a brisker pace) can help in improving cholesterol levels and other risk factors. Limiting sedentary time is also highly recommended.

"A good target for healthy adults is 150 minutes per week spent at 100 or more steps per minute," said John Schuna Jr., one of the authors of the study.

Working with lead author Catrine Tudor-Locke and six others, he examined data from 3,388 subjects at least 20 years of age who participated in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The current study builds upon earlier projects, many of which used self-reported estimates for activity levels, which had the tendency to run high. Accelerometer data available also didn't take into account the number of steps taken per minute, which would have clued the researchers into how brisk an individual was walking. Going at a rate of 100 steps per minute is widely considered to be equivalent to physical activity that is moderate in intensity.

Among the males that participated in the study, just the top fifth logged a median above 10,000 steps, recording 12,334. The median for the top fifth quintile in females was 9,824. Overall, just the top quintile of all the study subjects were able to meet peak number of steps per minute, which was 96 steps per minute. This kind of walking rate is in line with accepted guidelines for physical activity, which is 100 steps per minute for 30 minutes per day.

One of the matters that the researchers were looking to resolve was does it matter if 10,000 steps were achieved within just two hours or 15 hours.

In the end, the researchers said it's hard to pinpoint if someone is meeting guidelines for physical activity by just counting steps. However, if physical activity is to be defined by the number of steps taken, averaging at least 10,000 steps a day can definitely be considered as meeting requirements.

The researchers are hoping that fitness trackers in the future will be developed to make data available minute by minute to the wearer. Individual data is crucial if personalized health care is desired, after all.

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