PAI versus 10,000 steps

Does taking 10,000 steps a day really equate to good health? And how does it compare with other goals, such as earning 100 PAI per week?

Where is 10,000 steps a day from?

The goal of 10,000 steps originated in the 1960's from a pedometer, who's name 'manpo-kei' literally translates to '10,000-step meter'. This was then used as a marketing tool - a very successful one - so much so that 10,000 steps a day has been ingrained in our health consciousness.

Even though 10,000 steps was popularized as a marketing campaign, it doesn't mean that having steps as a goal isn't effective. After all, doing some physical activity is better than doing none. Furthermore, if you're able to incrementally do more steps or walk for longer that means you are making positive strides towards improving your health.

The limitations

There are some shortcomings to the 10,000 steps goal, though.

First off, it doesn't account for intensity of activity. For example, Tom is fairly fit and active, so doing 10,000 steps per day is no problem for him and takes very little time. He walks along flat paths to the store, barely raising his heart rate. Ameera is just starting out on her fitness journey, and finds 10,000 steps is nearly impossible to fit in with her daily schedule. Furthermore, she walks uphill towards work everyday, getting her heart rate up to her high-intensity zone, but feels defeated because she cannot reach her goal.

Secondly, step-counting can be quite narrow. If you're only monitoring steps, activities like swimming, bicycling, or weight training would not "count". You may have joint issues that prevent a lot of step-based activities, or may just prefer to swim, and that wouldn't get recognized with a goal of 10,000 steps.

An alternative, smart approach — PAI

There are many ways in which PAI improves and expands upon the concept of 10,000 steps:

  1. PAI offers a science-backed solution that is based on your heart rate, giving you a personalized experience to improve your health. You're given a weekly (instead of daily) goal of 100 PAI, which you can earn from any type of activity.
  2. 100 PAI isn't just an arbitrary number like 10,000 steps — it's backed by science. Researchers found that people who maintained 100 PAI or more had on average 25% risk reduction from cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle disease mortality. Even if people earned less than 100 PAI, they saw benefits and improvements to their cardiometabolic health.
  3. 100 PAI is a rolling 7-day goal, instead of a daily target. We live our lives in weekly cycles, and some days we just won't have time to do much exercise. PAI recognizes that, giving you 7 days to meet your target.
  4. PAI recognizes both intensity and duration of activity, as it's all based on your heart rate. Using our previous example, if Tom went for a leisurely 40 minute walk, getting 10,000 steps, he may only earn 2-5 PAI. Ameera, however, quickly walking up a steep hill may earn 10-15 PAI. Furthermore, PAI is tailored to you, adapting to you as you progress. So if you frequently bike ride to work, your body will adapt, getting stronger and making the ride easier. That means over time you'll earn less PAI from that same bike ride, encouraging you to push yourself to improve your fitness.

Ultimately doing more physical activity on a consistent basis is great for your health, helping you to not only get fitter, but also improving your mood and sleep, lessening stress, increasing your confidence, and more. Using a smart goal like PAI takes your health goals to the next level, allowing you to incorporate physical activity in a way that makes sense for your lifestyle and the activities you like to do — not just steps.

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