Fitness trackers have made it easier than ever to keep tabs on our step count. But logging a short stroll is just the start because most of these high-tech devices demand you step up to some serious goals. While estimates vary, it’s recommended that you net anywhere between 8,000 to 10,000 steps in a day. Every day? Maybe not.
A new study published in the JAMA Network Open investigated how our step counts affect our health. Researchers analysed data collected as part of the 2005 and 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys, sieving down these raw numbers to the participants with accelerometer deets that kept track of their daily steps every week. The researchers then compared these tallies against mortality data for the same group.
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The results? Those who managed to clock in at least 8,000 steps (just over 6km) at least once or twice every week were 15% less likely to pass away over the next 10 years.
But what about those routinely hitting their stroll goals? Well, there’s no doubt they burnt more calories, but their overall ability to evade the grim reaper’s scythe remained the same as those walking only a few times. Researchers also noted that hitting those fabled 8,000 or 10,000 steps wasn’t a requirement as even those who only managed a modest but respectable 6,000 had lower mortality rates than those lazing about.
In fact, setting easy-to-reach step goals might make you more inclined to get out and moving. We tend to feel overwhelmed by lofty targets, so scaling down that 10,000 benchmark that’s kept you from hitting the tarmac to a more manageable 5,000 might be the final push you need to get active on a regular basis.
Now, does that mean you should only be exercising once or twice every week? It’s a good start; but there’s a reason most research points to 150 to 300 minutes of cardio exertions every seven days as the bare minimum. And you should also be weaving in a few strength training stints to make sure your muscles are in good nick. For instance, those engaging in at least 30 minutes a week can cut their mortality risk, too.
Need Help Hitting Your Step Count? These Trackers Will Get You There
The new stable of fitness trackers serves up more features than ever before, and the best of the bunch will do far more than just keep an eye on your strides. These are our favourite wrist-PTs available right now:
1. HUAWEI WATCH 3 Pro
Best For: All-day tracking
If you’re looking for pinpoint accurate tracking and a stable of quality-of-life features, HUAWEI’s luxe offering delivers on all fronts. Its health monitoring features will keep tabs on heart rate, blood-oxygen and tons more. The watch also manages to squeeze out 21 days of online time with its “ultra-long battery life” setting.
2. Garmin Forerunner 45S
Best For: Runners
There’s a reason the forerunner is the favoured device of the running obsessed (elite and beginners alike). We dig the watch’s low-profile design and no-fuss approach to tracking. Just hit “go” and you’re ready to run. The Forerunner will track your distance, pace and any other metrics you might need to figure out why that PB is still eluding you. You can even use the watch to field calls and screen texts. Just don’t ghost your PT.
3. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
Best For: Tracking on a Budget
Fitness bands don’t always need to pack thousands of features—especially if all you want to do is set step goals, track your progress and review the results. Despite the affordable price point, Xiaomi has managed to squeeze a lot into this tiny device. You’ve got all the tracking features you could want plus heartrate monitoring, SpO tracking and magnetic charging.