Frequently Asked Questions


What makes HealtheSteps™ different from other health promotion programs?

It’s all about you! The HealtheSteps™ program does not focus on weight loss, rather it is about improving your lifestyle, one step at a time. HealtheSteps™ tackles 3 factors leading to chronic disease: physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, and poor eating habits. A key advantage to HealtheSteps™ is that the program is tailored to your circumstances and provides you with the tools needed to make healthy lifestyle changes that you can realistically maintain. This approach works because the program is highly evidence-based and pragmatic, meaning we’ve got the facts behind us and used those facts to make the program work for you.

Another advantage is that you are not alone in the HealtheSteps™ program. A HealtheSteps™ coach supports you as you take steps to better health. Every HealtheSteps™ coach is trained in goal setting that support healthy lifestyles.

Personalized Prescriptions! Prescribing lifestyle changes is not a new concept, but having you as the main partner in making that prescription is unique to HealtheSteps™. You work with your coach to set your personalized prescriptions and strategies to achieve goals that are right for you. It’s about making small changes that have a big impact.

What is the STEP™ test?

The STEP™ test measures how well your muscles use oxygen when you are physically active. Specifically, the STEP™ tests measures the volume of oxygen you use or your “VO2 maximum” score as you step up stairs.  The higher the VO2 maximum, the more fit you are.

How do you take a STEP™ test? All you need is a set of standard height stairs (most sets of stairs would fit this category) with two or more steps. If you feel uneasy climbing steps without support, select a set of stairs with a handrail. Stand on the ground facing the stairs and using only the first two steps of the staircase walk out this pattern:  “left foot up (landing on the first step), right foot up (landing on the second step), both feet together (left foot joins right foot on the second step), left foot down (landing on the first step), right foot down (landing on the ground), both feet together (on the ground)” and repeat.. Your coach times you as you repeat the pattern 20 times and uses this score along with other measures (pulse, weight, height, age, and gender) to identify your VO2 maximum and tell you how fit you are! Still have questions? Send us an e-mail at to ask for more information about the STEP™ test.

I have mobility issues that prevent me from climbing stairs, do I have to complete the STEP™ test?

No. The STEP™ Test is ideal for identifying your fitness level, but is not necessary to complete if you are not comfortable with stairs or have mobility issues. You and your coach can still work through the exercise prescription without completing this test.

I don’t have a pedometer, does this mean I can’t participate in the program?

No. The goal of the pedometer is to help you track your steps each day, but guess what? We’ve got an app for that! Check out our HealtheSteps™ smartphone app. The app has a built in pedometer that can track your steps, activity, and heart rate. Best of all….it is free!

Download the free HealtheSteps™ healthy living app



I don’t have a smartphone, can I still use the app?

Unfortunately, no. In order to access and support all of the cool features on the app, you need a smartphone. The app runs on both iPhone and Android devices.

I have the HealtheSteps™ smartphone app, but it doesn’t seem to be working. What can I do?

Let us know! Please send an e-mail to

I eat a specialized diet (e.g., vegan, gluten free, vegetarian), can I still participate in the program?

Yes. Although the coaches are trained in using Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, the healthy eating section of the program is tailored to the participant and their dietary requirements.

How long does this program last?

This depends on the site that is delivering the program and also upon what your needs are. Usually the program runs for 6-8 months with the participant meeting their coach every other month to update their prescriptions and goals. In some cases participants have only required 2 or 3 visits with their coach to get them on track to a healthy lifestyle.

I’m interested in joining the HealtheSteps™ movement, how do I find out more information?

Congratulations!  By being on the HealtheSteps™ website you’ve taken the first step towards improving your lifestyle. Send us an e-mail at and we will help you take the next step to a healthier lifestyle.



Are the program materials available in other languages?

Yes, there are program materials available in French. Please contact us for more details:


Where is HealtheSteps™ coach training available?

The training is completed online. It is presented in step-by-step, easy to understand elearning modules.

How does the HealtheSteps™ certification process work?

Once you work through all of the elearning modules, you will take an on-line test. In order to be certified you need to score 80% or higher on this test and have completed all of the modules. The test will be graded and you should receive results in the next 7 days. If you do not meet the minimum (80% or higher), you will be asked to review the modules and take the test again.

What type of supports are available for coaches?

Website: We are currently developing a community of practice for our website. This allows coaches to set up a profile and interact with other coaches delivering the HealtheSteps program. We also post podcasts and blogs bi-weekly which can be accessed on our website.

Twitter: Our twitter account @healthesteps is another resource where coaches can access healthy lifestyle information.

Research Team Support: We are always available through our e-mail at

We do not have pedometers available, can we still run the program?

Yes. Check out our HealtheSteps™ smartphone app which has a pedometer function.

Does everyone have to complete the STEP™ test?

No. It is up to the participant to decide whether they would like to complete this test. If the participant is uneasy about the test you can offer different options, such as using a handrail. The STEP™ test is recommended, however it is not required in order to complete the exercise prescription. For more information email us at

What is the difference between physical activity and exercise?

Physical activity is steps per day…think walking at your regular pace.

Exercise is moderate to vigorous activity or completing activities where you reach and maintain your target heart rate…think cardio fitness class, running.

It’s been a year and I haven’t received anything about re-certification. What do I do?

Let us know! Send us an e-mail at and we will follow-up.

How long does the training take?

The length of training is dependent on the individual and their background in health promotion. Typically around 2-3 hours is required to complete the training.

I’m not a health care/nutrition/exercise professional, can I still become a coach?

Yes. We encourage all who are interested in coaching to complete the training. The HealtheSteps™ program was designed to be delivered by people in the community, no matter their experiences or background. Delivering the program in the community by community members leads to local program support which in turn holds significant value in creating sustainable population health change.

We are developing a community of practice through our website that will include experts trained in health promotion, exercise, and nutrition. This community of experts will be available to ask questions, and seek feedback about aspects of program delivery and health in general.

How do I get more information about becoming a HealtheSteps™ coach?

E-mail us at!