For years, we’ve been told that walking 10,000 steps every day is the fitness benchmark. In fact, the idea dates back to the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Yet, a new study questioned this archaic piece of advice and proved it wrong.
Medical journalist, Michael Mosley joined forces with professor Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University to compare the fitness benefits of walking 10k every day to the Active 10. The latter is a newer approach that follows the quality not quantity ethos and recommends that we take a brisk ten minute walk, ideally three times a day rather than a specific amount of steps.
Mosley and Copeland divided a group of factory workers, who wanted to increase their fitness levels, into halve and one group followed the Active 10 approach, while the others walked 10k steps every day.
The study revealed that while the group following Active 10 walked fewer steps, their 10 minute bouts of exercise were more vigorous and beneficial, compared to those that covered more ground every day. Fitness expert and founder of Workshop Gymnasium, Lee Mullins isn’t surprised by this’. ‘Fitting shorter bouts of five to ten minutes of exercise multiple times throughout the day is a better way for some people to squeeze exercise into their daily schedules,’ says Mullins.
The NHS has created an app to encourage us to partake in the ten minute approach and says “It’s also seriously good for your long-term health – it can reduce your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes”.
For those who want to take a more vigorous approach, Mullins recommends micro doses of exercise every day and has devised a few that you can fit into your day…
- To improve flexibility and ankle/knee/hip/lower back health, practice sitting in a deep squat position for two to three minutes twice a day.
- To strengthen your shoulders and to get some decompression for your spine, try hanging from a bar for 30 seconds, and try doing this five times throughout the day.
- Before lunch, go for a brisk ten minute walk, this is a great way to increase your metabolism before eating a meal.
- Mid-afternoon, try this short but effective ten minute body-weight circuit to help wake you up at a time of day when people tend to start crashing. Perform each of the exercises below one after each other in a circuit format. Aim to complete two to three sets of the below circuit:
- Glute bridge – Work for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds
- Push Ups – Work for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds
- Bodyweight squats – Work for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds
- Jumping jacks – Work for 30 seconds then rest for one minute.