Jeffrey Beck, exercise specialist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, says the 10,000 steps method is something that has become quite popular and while it is important to walk, it is valid to question it with regard to improve one's overall fitness level.
If you are a die hard fan of the method or just getting into it, he recommends that you take the following tips into consideration:
1) Are you getting your heart rate up? As I mentioned before, walking is great! However, in order to improve your fitness level and glean the heart healthy benefits, you need to keep you heart rate at an elevated level for 150 minutes per week. Try to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes continuously while you shoot for 10,000 steps.
2) Do you exercise regularly at an intense level without walking? If you do, you probably won't benefit much from the 10,000 steps method. Chances are, you won't get 10,000 steps in if you work a desk job during the day, but you do carve out time to exercise every day at the gym. If you exercise 30-60 minutes per day and get 10,000 steps in, keep up the good work!
3) Is 10,000 steps a day attainable? If you aren't accustomed to exercise, then walking 10,000 steps in a day can be a daunting task. While walking improves bone and joint health, some people may have some limiting factors such as being severely overweight or new to exercise. Start by setting small goals first such as walking 2,000 steps per day and gradually build up to 10,000 steps. Once you can get to 10,000 steps, then start adding more rigorous exercises to your daily routine.