What’s enough ? Too much ? Too little ?

We should all walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Right ? We all know that don’t we ? Where did that advice come from and why ?

I was browsing the BBC website recently and came across an article looking at the use of fitness apps to record activity. The article went on to question whether the 10000 steps a day advice was really relevant.

Its seems the 10,000 steps advice came from a very small study undertaken in Japan. As a result a popular pedometer was put on the market which was known as “makpo-kei” which translates as “10000 steps meter”.  That simple advice has, since  then travelled the globe and become a mantra for many. So it’s not exactly a scientific recommendation.

As fitness professionals we are constantly seeing messages that bombard us with the “latest” research, fad, invention or format that will keep our clients coming back to us and guarantee us untold riches . Hopefully most of us are at least sceptical of all this advice that comes our way, but what about our clients? Many have a poor understanding of how their bodies function and do not make direct links between their lifestyle behaviours and poor health.  How are they supposed to make sense of this relentless outpouring of advice from magazines newspapers and social media?

Of course we need to encourage people to be as physically active as possible. But we all have different starting points,  10000 steps will be easily achieved by some but along term goal for others. Encouraging those who might be harmed by completing this feat is plainly not good sense.

And I think that’s where our role as fitness professionals becomes pivotal in promoting physical activity. Helping our clients and the broader community filter out the PR puff and find the  proven evidence base. Keeping abreast of the latest validated research requires some time and application but it’s what makes us professionals.  We can then use our communication skills to present this information in a way that is meaningful to each of our clients.

Using a  client centred motivational interviewing approachencourages individuals to find their own solutions to many of the personal issues that prevent behaviour change. Taking this approach underlines our professionalism,  identifies our clients as the true owners of the intervention,  is proven to increase adherence to a programme of physical activity.

So my advice: always look behind the headline, be scepticaland filter this information  for your clients to build your business.

Adlib training offer a one day course in Motivation Interviewing techniques see the “Courses” tabat www.ad-libtraining.com

Philip works freelance as one of the Tutor / Assessor team at Adlib Training in addition to managing an exercise referral service and coaching behaviour change as a Health Coach.



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