Background: This review looks at ways to increase physical activity, by walking and other sports and home activities, to reach the daily 10,000 steps goal. It also looks at a number of issues associated with achieving the daily step goal, such as considerations in walking, step counting and physical activity.
Methods: The review is based on MEDLINE (1982-2006) and Google searches using keywords "pedometer", "daily step goal", "physical activity", "exercise".
Results: Research has suggested a daily 10,000 step goal for maintaining a desirable level of physical activity for health. However, this is not normally achievable through routine daily activities. For many, there is a daily deficit of approximately 4000 steps (most from 3000 to 6000 steps), which must be gained from other more rigorous activities. This paper provides information based on the Compendium of Physical Activities, to help people to choose their physical activities to supplement their daily steps, through both sports activities and home activities. It thus helps people to better achieve the goals of Canada's Physical Activity Guide. There are issues to consider in counting steps. A pedometer is not an exact method to measure energy expenditure. Focusing on counting steps may lead to an obsessive attitude toward exercise. Excessive walking and physical activity may lead to certain health problems.
Discussion: Walking is a practical and fun way to change our sedentary life style and to improve the health of the nation. When there is a deficit in daily steps, both sports and home activities can be used to supplement the daily steps to reach the daily step goal. The user-friendly table provided in this paper helps people to identify the sports and home activities, and estimate the durations needed, to meet the daily step goal.