Walking Is Considered Exercise—But Only If You Take This Many Steps Per Hour

New research confirms that walking is an effective exercise routine, as long as you're hitting these metrics.

woman walking in neighborhood

Photo by Jason Donnelly

Photo by Jason Donnelly

This article first appeared on Cooking Light.

Walking is one of the most pleasant ways to get active, and nearly anyone—even those who don't want to shell out membership fees for gyms or fitness classes—can get in on the action. We've previously learned that any form of walking is beneficial to your health and fitness, whether it's a trip around the block or a miles-long trail hike, but a new study suggests there's actually a magic number of steps to aim for if you're truly looking to shed pounds while walking.

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The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, included data on each participants age, BMI, heart rate, and breathing rate so they could learn of any correlation between walking and overall health.

After some digging, researchers discovered that 100 steps per minute (about 2.7 miles per hour) is magic formula for it to be considered moderate exercise, where your heart rate increases by 50 to 70 percent. When you break it down, it's just under 2 steps per second, which definitely sounds doable for a healthy individual.

The study's co-author, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, told the New York Times that this rate applies to anyone under the age of 60. There's a small catch, though. Currently, federal guidelines say that Americans should exercise at least for 30 minutes each day, so you'd need to ensure that you get those 3,000 steps in within that time period.

“The good news is that this pace will probably not feel strenuous to most healthy people,” Dr. Tudor-Locke said. The same research says that for those looking for a challenging workout should raise their step count to 130 per minute, as this rate officially counts as "vigorous."

But for those who are looking for a smoother, easier way to work on their fitness, simply hitting 100 steps per minute will do wonders for your health. We've always been about getting in those steps wherever you go, but this bit of news proves that keeping fit can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.