Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. Surveys reveal that one of the most common goals involves weight loss and getting more exercise. Unfortunately within a week a quarter of us already give up on our resolutions, with only 8% successfully reaching their goal.
Some of the biggest mistakes people make include setting goals that are too broad or too unrealistic. If you’ve been sitting on a couch for the last few months, it is not feasible you will be able to run a marathon next month. To improve your fitness, start off slow and build over time.
Increasing your daily step count is actually one of the easiest and safest exercises you can do. Depending on how often and how much you walk, it can also be a great way to lose weight.
In order to find out how many miles you need to cover to shed those extra pounds, you need to find out how many steps you are currently covering. The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day, significantly less than the 8,000-10,000 target. Whatever your step count, its a relatively simple matter calculating how much more you need to walk to lose weight.
Essential reading: Tips to help you hit 10,000 per day
An average person makes 2,112 steps when walking one mile. This equates to 100 calories burned. One pound equals 3,500 calories. This means, to lose one pound per week, you would need to increase your daily step count by 10,000 steps (3,500/100*2112/7).
So for example; if you currently take 3,500 steps with your existing routine and daily habits and are maintaining weight, you would need to increase this to over 13,000 to lose one pound per week.
Unless you have a very active lifestyle or profession, it can be difficult to log this many steps just with daily activity. You would need to achieve this by one or more sustained walks or runs every day lasting around 30 minutes. That roughly corresponds to the minimum daily exercise recommendation by most health authorities to reduce health risks.
No matter what your current step count, increasing it is totally possible. To be on the safe side, you should gradually increase the number of steps until you hit your target. Or you can supplement walking with one of the following activities:
If you are trying to lose weight through walking, one of the best things that you can do is to use a fitness tracker. This will help you keep tabs on your activity and motivate you to keep going day after day. The right activity tracker will be based on your individual needs; whether it’s step counting, sleep tracking or 24/7 heart rate tracking, there’s something for everyone.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets you can buy right now
For weight loss, you should try and log in extra steps most days. Aim for five days per week at a minimum and try not to skip more than one day in a row. If you can walk every day, that is even better because consistency is good for burning calories.
Its also best to walk at a brisk pace. A recent study says most people don’t meet their goal, and that taking fewer steps may still bring health benefits, especially if you walk at a brisk pace. You may not lose weight, but at the very least aim to walk over 3,000 steps at a brisk pace and limit sedentary time in order to stay healthy.
Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, good old-fashioned walking can improve your health, help you build stamina and burn excess calories. And remember. Sure, 10,000 steps is great. It burns about 400 calories. But if you follow that up by buying a 500 calorie cheeseburger, you will still be back where you started!
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