Health & Wellness

Study on Exercise Metrics, Comparing Steps and Time



A study by medical professionals at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has looked into the question of whether it is better to monitor physical activity by steps or time. The Journal of the American Medical Association (J) Internal Medicine published this research, which analysed how these different tracking methods relate to health effects among 14,399 women aged 62 upwards.

The Research Overview

The researchers planned the study to evaluate the effect of physical activity measured both by steps and time. Devices that could record daily step counts and exercise length were given to participants. The researchers observed this group from 2011 to 2015 and also collected more data up until the end of 2022.

  • Participants were asked to wear their activity trackers all day long, taking them off only for activities like sleeping or showering.
  • Lifestyle and health information were gathered yearly via health surveys.
  • The majority of members in this trial consisted of older women, which allowed for insights into health trends pertaining to this age group.

Important Results

Outcomes from this wide reaching study revealed important evidence about regular physical activities’ effects, regardless of how they are recorded,

  • There was a strong connection between high levels of activity measured either in steps or active minutes and lower chances of death or heart diseases.
  • Members who belonged in the range for highest physical activities had a 30% 40% lesser risk towards mortality or cardiovascular issues than those who were in the least active bracket.
  • Namely, people who exercised more lived around two months longer, reinforcing the belief that regular exercise can extend lifespan.

Analyzing Steps vs Time

A crucial revelation from this study is that the specific metric used whether steps or time is probably less notable than what was earlier conceived. Lead author of the study, Dr. Rikuta Hamaya points out that it’s not about choice of tracking measurement but about setting and following personal fitness goals allowing for one’s way of life and preferences.

Key benefits of each tracking method include

  • Steps, This simple measure records all movement throughout the day, not only during structured exercise sessions. It functions ideally for individuals hoping to uplift their daytoday activity.
  • This measurement works well for activities that are tough to count as steps like swimming or cycling as it gives a more accurate assessment of effort and intensity.

The Way Forward in Physical Activity Guidelines

This research brings valuable insights just as health authorities and decision makers are set to modify federal physical activity guidelines by 2028. The existing advice stresses on duration and intensity of physical exertion but does not take into consideration step counts which is popular because of widespread use of fitness trackers.

The research suggests setting step count oriented targets in the future guidelines allowing more flexibility and accessibility while monitoring fitness. This would adjust with individual preferences and technological updates regarding how people track their physical activity.

To Sum Up

The findings from this study stress upon personalising exercise goals to align with one’s lifestyle whether one prefers counting steps or recording time spent on overall physical activities in a day. By aligning fitness strategies with personal preferences individuals can realize max health merits which could potentially elongate their lifespan.

Finally, the findings from the study pour in support for encouraging health recommendations that embrace different lifestyles and capabilities thereby leading to a healthier, more physically active community.

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