Sporting Goods Stores Helping Customers Walk to Improve Heart Health


"Walking can be a wonderful way to get exercise. But do you ever wonder if you're moving briskly enough to benefit your heart? There's a quite a difference between a leisurely neighborhood stroll and a purposeful gait when you're late for the bus. Now, new research suggests that a pace of about 100 steps per minute qualifies as brisk walking for many people, reports Harvard Health Publishing."

"Using that cadence as a benchmark might make sense for some, but not all, people, says Dr. Beth Frates, who directs wellness programming for the Stroke Research and Recovery Institute at Harvard-​affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. 'For example, 100 steps per minute could be a good goal for a middle-​aged, relatively healthy person who's walking on a mild day when the conditions allow for safe footing.' In fact, that pace might even seem a bit slow for a fit person who exercises regularly, she says."

"In contrast, 100 steps per minute might be too fast for people who are out of shape, either because they don't have a regular fitness routine or have been sidelined by injury or illness. That's why she and other physicians often recommend that people use the "rate of perceived exertion" scale, also known as the modified Borg scale (see 'Walking while talking'), to estimate how hard they're exercising."

Take this in stride: A study of walking speeds

To estimate the number of steps per minute (pace) that correlates with brisk or moderate walking, a team of researchers reviewed findings from 38 recent, high-​quality studies. All of the studies tracked people's walking pace, as well as other measures of effort, such as increases in heart and breathing rates." 

"The studies included people ages 18 and older, although the average age in most of the studies was under 40. Even though the participants had a range of different body weights and fitness levels, researchers found that what constituted brisk or moderate walking was consistent across the studies: about 100 steps per minute (or about 2.7 miles per hour)."

"However, these results don't necessarily apply to older adults, who may reach moderate-​intensity exercise levels at a cadence lower than 100 steps per minute, the authors point out. Other factors such as height (which affects the length of your stride) and health status could also influence an individual's step count. The study was published in the June British Journal of Sports Medicine."

"A mid-​range effort

'To use the Borg scale, you have to pay attention to how hard you're breathing, which is a clear indicator of how hard your heart and body are working,' Dr. Frates says. Aim for an exertion level around 5 or 6: about halfway between sitting still and exercising as hard as you possibly can."

According to AudienceSCAN, 29% of Sporting Goods Shoppers plan to purchase a fitness tracker this year. In order to choose between the numerous brands of devices out there and where to purchase them, shoppers will probably do their research. Within the last month, 57.8% of this audience used a search engine (probably Google, which is favored by 92.4%) to research a product they were considering for purchase. Within the past six months, 36.1% used a mobile device to watch a video about a product they're considering.

"Walking while talking
Known as the modified Borg or 'rate of perceived exertion' scale, this measure can help you gauge whether you are exercising intensely enough.
ScaleIntensityBreathing/​speaking pattern
1Extremely easyRestful breathing; able to sing
2Very easyCan easily speak in complete sentences
4Easy to moderateSpeech becomes broken
5ModerateBreathing becomes heavier
6Talking is difficult
7Moderate to vigorousDeep, forceful breathing, but still sustainable
8VigorousLabored breathing; cannot talk
9Very labored breathing; borderline breathless
10Very vigorousGasping for air"

"Time will tell

Another good option is to just track the time you spend walking. If you're just getting started, begin with 10 minutes a day and gradually add a few more minutes every week. If you have a walking routine, try counting how many steps you take in 10 seconds and multiply by six to find your steps per minute. If the number is not close to 100, don't worry; listen to your body and use the perceived exertion measure instead."

Sporting goods stores can promote their wares that can help Sporting Goods Shoppers manage their walking goals. But what are the best advertising methods for this group? Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, 60.7% of this audience took action after seeing an ad on a mobile app or after receiving a text ad, and 60.4% were motivated by email advertisements. They're also 53% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites. Also within the last year, 76.5% of this audience took action after seeing a TV commercial.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.