Toward Comprehensive Step-Based Physical Activity Guidelines: Are We Ready?

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Step counting is now a widespread and acceptable approach to self-monitoring physical activity courtesy of the recent surge in wearable technologies. Nonetheless, there remains no recommendation for steps/day in federal physical activity guidelines. The authors review current scientific literature to consider evidence regarding the volume, dose (frequency, intensity, duration, timing), and dose-response relationships for step-based metrics, including steps/day (volume), cadence (steps/min; intensity), peak 30-min cadence (steps/min; composite index of frequency, intensity, and duration), and zero cadence (proxy for sedentary behavior). Preliminary evidence suggests that communicating federal physical activity guidelines using step-based metrics could facilitate individuals’ ability to comprehend and achieve a physically active lifestyle.

The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA.

Tudor-Locke (ctudorlocke@umass.edu) is corresponding author.
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