How fast do you need to walk to meet federal guidelines to do “moderate-intensity” activity for 150 minutes a week or “vigorous” exercise for 75 minutes a week? Walking at least 100 steps per minute constitutes moderate exercise for most people, and at least 130 steps per minute is vigorous exercise, according to a small study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
These step counts were calculated while participants walked on treadmills at various speeds, holding portable devices that measured oxygen consumption (which was used to compute METs, a unit of measure of the intensity of physical activity).
One caveat: This ongoing NIH-funded study has so far included only people ages 21 to 40, but will continue testing older groups, up to age 85. At least six previous studies have also found that 100 steps per minute is the threshold for moderate-intensity walking, the researchers stated.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Better Walking Workouts.