Researchers investigated the relationships between step counts, MVPA, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Study Overview

Ever wondered if counting steps or tracking workout minutes is better for your health? A study by Hamaya et al. (2024) explored this by examining which metric better predicts all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease among American women. Participants tracked either their step counts or total minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) over 12 weeks. Both groups showed similar health benefits, suggesting that the overall amount of activity matters more than the intensity.

Interpretations & Takeaways

Surprisingly, both step counts and MVPA provided similar predictive utility for reducing all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. This means that simply being active, regardless of how intensely, is key to better health. While previous advice often emphasizes specific heart rate zones, this study suggests focusing more on overall activity volume. For general health, aim for at least 8,000-10,000 steps per day or 150 minutes of MVPA per week.

However, if you’re aiming for peak athletic performance, intensity does become important. Higher intensity workouts are crucial for specific athletic goals, but for most people, staying active in any way is beneficial.


Hamaya R, Shiroma EJ Jr, Moore CC, Buring JE, Evenson KR, Lee IM. Time- vs Step-Based Physical Activity Metrics for Health. JAMA Intern Med. 2024 Jul 1;184(7):718-725. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2024.0892. PMID: 38767892; PMCID: PMC11106710.