Today’s post comes from Sukhleen Deol. Sukhleen is a second year Master’s Student at York University in Kinesiology and Health Science.
Public health guidelines recommend that adults take at least 10 000 steps per day1 to get the biggest bang for the physical activity buck. But how many people actually meet this guideline? Recent data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) showed that only about a third of adults are meeting this target. Men are doing slightly better and take an average of 9 500 steps per day. Women take an average of 8 400 steps per day.1 Take home message – to prevent chronic disease, Canadians should participate in higher amounts of physical activity.
Not sure if you’re meeting the guidelines? The National Pedometer Challenge, hosted by CON-SNP is a great way to check yo’self and see if you are meeting the current guidelines of at least 10 000 steps per day. This annual event requires participants to track their steps for 7 days. Last year, I participated and was surprised to find that I was not meeting the guidelines!
Until you actually track your steps (and we’re not talking about counting on your fingers), it can be pretty difficult to know how much activity you get during a typical day. As a student, much of my time is spent sitting at a computer (as I am right now). With this challenge, I had to remind myself to get up and move. At the end of the day, if I was disappointing with my step count – which happened on more than one occasion – I would get up and start jogging in my hallway (the verdict is still out on if that was considered cheating…). Although I still didn’t meet the average 10 000 step per day for the week, the challenge definitely motivated me to increase my daily physical activity.
This year, the National Pedometer Challenge takes place from March 13th to the 19th. Join your school chapter and track your steps for this week. There will even be prizes awarded throughout the week (keep an eye out on social media). The chapter with the most steps will be the ultimate winner at the end of the week! For those of you who pass this challenge with flying colours, good on you (that’s a prize in and of itself)! And for everyone who participates just know that even CON members can struggle with hitting that magic 10,000 number, but it’s the effort that counts.
Not sure how to track your steps? If you have access to a pedometer or activity monitor (think something like a FitBit or Garmin), you can use that to track your steps. If not, don’t worry, there are many (free!) smartphone apps that will track your steps for you. The following to have great reviews:
For iPhone users, if using an iPhone 6, there is an app called Health on your phone that will track your steps. Argus, Pedometer++, and Pacer – Pedometer plus Weight Loss and BMI Tracker are other apps that should be available for download for free on iPhone.
For Android users, Runtastic Pedometer Step Count, Noom Walk Pedometer, and Pedometer are all free apps that can track your steps.
Register for the National Pedometer Challenge by March 12 here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3090581/NPC-Register
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Colley, R. C., Garriguet, D., Janssen, I., Craig, C. L., Clarke, J., & Tremblay, M. S. (2011). Physical activity of Canadian adults: accelerometer results from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 22(1), 7.