Want to learn how to lose fat by just walking? In this article, I cover how many steps you should take a day to lose weight.
Walking is, hands down, one of the most effective yet underrated forms of activity that you can do to burn off fat. And I’m speaking from my own experience. I’ve personally tried it all for fat loss. HIIT cardio, steady-state cardio, circuit training, everything. And I’ve found that by simply doing the majority of my “cardio” in the form of walking and just aiming to get more steps every day, was by far the easiest and most effective way for me to:
- Consistently burn more calories, AND
- Lean down
- Leaving my body destroyed AND
- Sparking my appetite
Like other forms of cardio would.
And it’s not just that, though. The beauty of walking is that it can literally be done anywhere. And as you’ll see later on, drastically increasing your step count can easily be done even in the comfort of your own home. You can do so by just implementing a few simple tips.
But before we dive into that, let’s attempt to answer how many steps you should be taking to lose fat in the first place.
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10,000 Steps A Day Seems To Be A Good Number
Typically, the number that pops into most people’s heads is 10,000 steps a day. That’s usually used as the ideal “benchmark” to aim for. But guess what? This idea of 10,000 steps a day was actually just simply a marketing tool that was used for the sales of some of the first developed pedometers in Japan! And worse still, the number didn’t have any scientific backing behind it at that time.
However, research now shows that it actually does have some validity to it. For instance, we know that Public Health’s recommendation is that we should get in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. And it’s been shown that this translates to roughly 8,000 steps a day. Now, how does that translate to weight loss? If you crunch the numbers, it’s been shown that bumping this up to around 10,000 steps per day is most effective for not only losing fat but also keeping that fat off in the long term.
And that means that 10,000 steps a day seems to actually be a good general number to strive for in terms of overall health and long term weight management.
Ultimately, It Still Boils Down To Your Current Lifestyle
However, with that being said, the ideal number of steps for you and what will enable you to drop fat and stay lean ultimately depends on:
- Your diet AND
- Where your average step count is right now
For example, without going over it in-depth and boring you with the math, when you crunch the numbers you’ll find that an average 180-pound individual can expect to burn roughly 60 calories per 1,000 steps when walking at a moderate pace.
So, let’s assume that you’re currently maintaining your weight with an average step count of 6,000 steps a day. For every 1,000 additional steps you took per day, you’d be able to bump up your calorie expenditure by around 60 calories.
Getting In More Steps A Day Is An Easy Way To Burn More Fat
Note that there are roughly 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. So, if you keep your diet and everything else the same, then by simply going from 6,000 steps a day to 8,000 steps a day, you’d theoretically be able to burn off an extra lb of fat a month.
Yes, just by making that subtle change! And what happens when you go from 6,000 steps a day to 10,000 steps a day? Well, you’d theoretically be able to double that and burn off an extra 2 lbs of fat a month!
And research is actually in line with this. For instance, one 2017 paper from the Journal of Nutrition randomly assigned subjects to either:
- Just a low-calorie diet OR
- The same low-calorie diet plus brisk walking
The walking consisted of a total of 3 hours of added walking per week. Or, in other words, an added 25 minutes of walking a day. And this would equate to roughly 2,000 to 3,000 added steps per day.
After 12 weeks, the walking group lost around 3 lbs more fat than the non-walking group. This doesn’t sound like much but is such an easy thing to implement into your routine that can both kickstart and considerably speed up the fat loss process for you.
The Number Of Steps You Take A Day Affects Your Body Composition
However, just keep in mind that this goes both ways. Because research has shown that when lean, active individuals likely taking in excess of 10,000 steps a day was then transitioned into a more sedentary lifestyle of below 5,000 steps a day, they ended up burning roughly 700 calories LESS per day as a result. Why? Because the subjects didn’t adjust their diet for this! Instead, they ate as much as they previously did when they were more active. And so, they obviously began to gain significantly more weight, with most of that weight being stored as fat.
Simply indicating that the number of steps you take per day is a lot more powerful in terms of our body composition than we perceive it to be. And, therefore, should be closely monitored to:
- Kickstart and speed up fat loss AND
- Keep that fat off once we’ve lost it
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How To Lose Weight By Walking: Action Plan
To sum all the previous points up for you, here’s what I’d recommend.
If you’re not very active at the moment and struggling to lean down, then set a realistic goal number of steps you can hit every day. Doing so helps you:
- Create and maintain a calorie deficit WHILE
- Ensuring that you don’t then compensate by simply eating more as you do so
And aiming for at least 8,000 or even 10,000 steps a day are honestly good targets. This is not just for increasing the calories you burn every day. But it’s also because research has shown that active individuals who burn more calories throughout the day, whether it be from walking or any other exercise, are able to better control their appetite and food intake. This is due to various physiological changes that start to happen in the body once you become more active.
Meaning that the benefits of 10,000 steps a day, for example, go beyond just calories burned. You getting more steps in can start to affect the calories “in” side of the equation. And this can, therefore, speed up your fat loss process to an even greater degree.
Now, 10,000 or even 8,000 steps a day may seem daunting and out of reach for many of you. Especially if you’re at home most of the day or sitting at the office. But as you’re about to see, this really isn’t the case. And is made so much easier by simply tying it into existing habits that are already part of your daily routine.
How To Get In More Steps With Your Existing Routine
- After every one of your meals for the day (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner), make it a habit to go for a 10-minute walk after. This, alone, if done for 3 meals a day will add on average a whopping 3,500 steps.
- Then, tying it into another one of your habits which you hopefully do every day. Rather than checking yourself out in the mirror as you brush your teeth, walk around the house. Let’s assume you brush your teeth twice a day for roughly 2 minutes. This alone can add up your step count by around 400 steps.
- Next, keep yourself well hydrated and drink more water throughout the day. I personally take more trips to the washroom than probably anyone I know. And assuming it’s not a bladder problem, it’s because I drink a ton of water. But, this also helps me get my steps in because I’m frequently having to get up off my chair to use the washroom. And when I do, I make it a habit to go to the furthest, least convenient washroom available. May not sound like much. But with 3-5 extra trips to the washroom throughout the day, this can easily add up another 400 steps or so to your step count. This is even if you’re just at home.
- And lastly, some of you may end up hating me for this, but what you can do is pick a hallway or doorway in your home and set a rule. Every single time you pass that hallway, you immediately do 20 jumping jacks. Assuming you don’t forever avoid that hallway and pass through it at least 5 times a day, that’s easily another 200 steps. That’s if we assume an equivalent of 2 steps per jumping jack.
Every Step Counts In The Weight Loss Equation
Tally that all up. And that’s easily an additional 4,500 steps added up to your step count. Remember our previous assumption of roughly 60 calories burned per thousand steps? Well, you’ve just managed to increase your metabolism and daily calorie expenditure by 270 calories a day! And this would then theoretically result in an additional half an lb of fat burned per week. That’s from those changes alone.
So yes, the goal of hitting something like 10,000 steps a day may seem intimidating and unrealistic at first. But it becomes a lot easier and within reach for you when you apply the tips I went through. And as a result of that, you’ll be able to take advantage of the often underestimated power of walking. And experience the fat loss benefits that it has to offer.
But, on that note guys, just keep in mind that for the best results, these additional steps you’ll be taking need to be paired with a solid nutrition plan and regular weight training. As that really is what will speed up the process for you and set up the foundation for your long term success.
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