TitleStep by Step: Accumulated Knowledge and Future Directions of Step-defined Ambulatory Activity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSchuna, Jr, JM, Tudor-Locke, C
JournalRes Exerc Epidemiol

Walking is one of the most common forms of human locomotion. The development of objective monitoring devices (e.g., pedometers or accelerometers) has afforded public health researchers a unique opportunity to measure ambulatory behavior, including walking, with minimal bias. Objective monitors have been used in a number of cross-sectional national- and state-representative studies to assess walking behavior. Data from these studies, and smaller investigations, have allowed researchers to assess the relationships between total daily ambulation (steps/day) and various health indicators. The growing body of investigations measuring ambulatory behavior has also prompted researchers to seek answers to related questions: “how manysteps/day are too few?” and “how many steps/day are enough?” Moreover, recent epidemiological evidence has linked ambulatory speed (steps/min) to various health outcomes and has peaked researchers’ interests in answering “how fast is enough?” This brief review: 1) summarizes current epidemiological literature examining objectively monitored ambulatory behavior, 2) answers public health relevant questions concerning insufficient and sufficient amounts of daily walking, 3) considers the relative importance of walking speed in relation to public health, and 4) identifies future research directions related to the assessment of walking behavior.