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Stepping—encompassing walking, running and stair-climbing—is the fundamental mode of human movement. Higher stepping volume and intensity is associated with favourable health outcomes.1 2 Over the last quarter of the century, stepping has declined by over 1000 steps per day (7%–13% of total count,3 roughly equivalent to ~10 min of brisk walking). As a simple ‘objective’ measure of ambulatory physical activity, formal stepping-based recommendations may provide a target that is easy to understand and monitor. As self-monitoring of steps may be an effective physical activity intervention, such recommendations may support more people to be sufficiently active. This editorial discusses the opportunities and challenges surrounding the addition of stepping-based recommendations to future guidelines.
Daily steps: an old-new target?
Current physical activity recommendations are based on weekly duration (time) of moderate and vigorous activity (MVPA).4 For some people steps may be an easier to monitor and more concrete behavioural metric than time at a particular intensity. For example, step counting devices (pedometers, accelerometers or smartphones) have historically been more accessible than MVPA time-quantifying devices. Simple mechanical pedometers first appeared almost 60 years ago around the Tokyo 1964 Olympics, with the Yamasa company-designed ‘Manpo-Kei’ (‘10 000 steps metre’) being the first commercial step counter. The proliferation of step-counting devices in the last 20 years saw the 10 000 daily steps target being treated as an unofficial goal that increasingly attracted public attention (online supplemental image 1).
As cohort studies mature, it is likely that more stepping dose–response studies will be available to inform future guidelines. Consumer …
Twitter @M_Stamatakis, @MarieHMurphy, @timchico, @karenmilton8, @JasonGill74
Contributors All authors have contributed sufficently to warrant authorship. ES and JG conceived the idea, ES drafted the material, all coauthors reviewed the manuscript critically and redrafted parts.
Funding ES is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) through an Investigator Grant (APP1194510). BDPC is funded the Government of Andalusia (Spain), Research Talent Recruitment Programme (BdPC, EMERGIA 2020/00158).
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Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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