UNISTEP (University Students Exercise and Physical Activity) Study: A Pilot Study of the Effects of Accumulating 10,000 Steps on Health and Fitness Among University Students

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Recent public health initiatives have promoted accumulating 10,000 steps per day. Little previous research has evaluated its effects in young adults. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of taking 10,000 steps per day on fitness and cardiovascular risk factors in sedentary university students.


Healthy, sedentary students (mean age 21.16 ± SD 6.17) were randomly allocated to take 10,000 steps per day or to a control group who maintained their habitual activity. Members of the 10,000 step group wore a pedometer and reported daily step count in a diary. Outcome measurements (20-meter multistage shuttle run, BMI, and blood pressure) were measured before and after 6 weeks.


There were no significant differences between the groups at baseline. After 6 weeks, the 10,000 steps group were taking significantly more steps (8824.1 ± SD 5379.3 vs. 12635.9 ± SD 6851.3; P = .03).No changes were observed in fitness, or BMI (P > .05). Significant reductions in blood pressure (P = .04) in the 10,000 step group.


A daily target of 10,000 steps may be an appropriate intervention in sedentary university students to increase their physical activity levels. The positive health benefits of simple everyday physical activity should be promoted among health professionals.

The authors are with the Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

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