Active 10 vs 10,000 Steps a Day

Chris from Conditioning Research shared this article this morning:

Michael Mosley: ‘Forget walking 10,000 steps a day’

The short summary is that people that aim for walking briskly 3 times a day for 10 minutes get better results than those that aim for 10,000 steps.

When we looked at the volunteers’ results, two out of the three asked to do 10,000 steps had managed to hit their target. But they had all struggled.

The Active 10 group, on the other hand, had found it relatively easy. They had formed a small walking group and met together at convenient times during their working day to go for a brisk walk together.

The article concludes that the Active 10 group had a better health outcome than the 10,000 Steps group. As President and Founder of The 10,000 Steps University, I did not like how the author and others have lumped the “10,000 Steps” protocol in with other exercise protocols and then compared them.

10,000 Steps University

10,000 Steps was never prescribed as a replacement or substitute for true exercise. It was prescribed as an antidote to endless hours of sitting. You still need to lift and get your heart rate up. The goal is to do both. But people hear what they want to hear. And then they repeat that false statement over and over until it became the accepted truth that 10,000 Steps was being recommended as exercise.

Anyway, even though Active 10 was introduced to me in a sloppy manner, I think I like the idea. If I aim for 3 periods of brisk 10-minute walking all that still counts towards my 10,000 Steps. Only now, I’ve varied the intensity. Also, on busy days or days with awful weather, I can favor the Active 10 path and then on sunny relaxed days, favor the 10,000 Steps path.

And for those fans of Active 10 that think it is all they need for exercise, it really isn’t. It is a good start, but a true exercise plan will also involve resistance training.

Time to Test

Active 10 has a free app for iOS and Android. I’ve installed it and will be testing it out. Currently, I have reduced my 10,000 Steps to 5,000 while I deal with my knee issues. I’ll find out if I can walk “brisk” enough to meet my Active 10 goals.

Join me if you like and I’ll post again in a few months and then we share our results.

Active 10

Published by

MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

5 thoughts on “Active 10 vs 10,000 Steps a Day”

  1. MAS,
    Inspried by some of your recent posts about habituation to certain exercises, I have concluded that for me; walking does little for my overall fat loss efforts. I naturally walk 2-5 miles a day ( and lift 3x a week with cardio thrown in most days) and have found no increase in fat loss associated with walking anything over my normal walking patterns. There have been days I have done 10 plus miles and it seems my body doesn’t register this as exercise, ie it doesn’t feel like there is any metabolic advantage to doing so. Not sure if I am the lone ranger here or if this is just a normal adaptive pattern.

  2. You sold me on it, MAS. Looking back some of my healthiest (and leanest) days were when I was walking briskly 30 minutes a day and resistance training. In the words of Dan John “it worked so well that I stopped doing it.”

    Downloaded the app and will join you in the test. This should help me get back to fundamentals.

  3. @Zander – I noticed I snack less when I move more. Walking didn’t make me lean, but it kept me from consuming as much I would on days when I sat more. When I’m inside, I think about food more.

    @Geoff – I like that quote a lot.

    Day 1 results:
    145 minutes walking of which only 19 were brisk. Guess I need to pick up the pace? 🙂

  4. I think they are unclear about what benefits they are shooting for. In the article, they say “And it’s when you are doing moderate intensity activity that you are starting to get the greatest health benefits.” So they appear to be talking about cardio vascular benefits. As @MAS points out, though, there may be other benefits to low intensity, frequent walking. For example, meditation, stretching, eating whole foods, getting sleep, and socializing all may have health benefits, but none of these activities include moderate intensity activity.

  5. Hi
    Out of interest, Michael Mosley is in a BBC series, Trust Me I’m a Doctor. Worth watching if you are able to.
    He also made the 5:2 diet famous here in the UK, which my wife followed for a while.
    I tried but eating only 600 calories with a stressful job at the time wasnt for me.

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