Walking is often recommended as part of a weight loss program. Its actually one of the easiest and safest exercises you can do. But have you ever wondered exactly how much you need to move to shed those extra pounds?
Essential reading: Tips to help you hit 10,000 per day
In order to find out, you’ll need to work out how many steps you are currently covering on a daily basis. An activity tracker can do this for you easily. Any one will do, they all count steps.
Most people in America walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day, about a half of the recommended 8,000-10,000 target. That’s not enough. No wonder, as a nation the US is overweight.
But whatever your step count, it’s a relatively simple matter calculating exactly how many weeks it would take to get to your desired weight. All it takes is a bit of math.
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 (without a change to your diet), you would need to increase your daily step count by an extra 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. This equates to an extra 5 miles. Want to lose 4 pounds? Just keep doing this for a month.
Unless you have a very active lifestyle or profession, it can be difficult to log 10,000+ 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. This actually roughly corresponds to the minimum daily exercise recommendation by most health authorities.
To make the job easier, it’s best to supplement a more active lifestyle with healthier eating habits. Reduce your calorie intake and you won’t have to walk as much!
No matter what your current step count, bumping it up 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 combine 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 get yourself 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
For weight loss, you should try and log extra steps most days. Aim for five days per week at a minimum and try not to skip more than a day in a row. Consistency is good for burning calories.
Its also best to move at a brisk pace. A recent study says most people don’t meet their goal, but that taking fewer steps may still bring health benefits particularly 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.
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 nearly 500 calories. But if you follow that up by buying a Big Mac and Strawberry Sunday, you’ll be back right where you started!
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