With the rise of Fitbit and their goal of having people walk more, you might be wondering:
“Can you lose weight walking 10,000 steps a day?”
Short answer: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, research shows obese people achieving significant weight loss over 36 weeks using the 10,000 steps/day exercise.
But the thing is, losing weight — be it from walking, weight lifting, or other forms of exercise — always comes down to 1 thing: caloric deficit, or basically burning more calories than you take in.
Specifically about how to lose weight walking 10,000 steps a day, I think the trick is gradually increasing your number of steps and finding other ways to make this relatively easy exercise more intense, as well as slowly shifting your diet towards a healthier, more low-calorie regiment.
This brings us to what I believe you should do first, which is:
Determine your baseline
Smartwatches like the Fitbit Charge 4 are great ways to measure steps and I highly recommend them in whatever shape or form. However, your smartphone likely already has an activity tracker pre-installed and it’ll work just fine while you still don’t have a smartwatch.
Per research, these gadgets with step trackers can be enough to increase the number of steps a sedentary person takes by about 2,500.
However, before you even start trying to walk more, I think it’s best if you take an entire week to count how many steps you normally take per day.
The same research says that it helps get reliable estimates, which is exactly what you want your baseline to be if you want this whole thing to be effective.
The next thing I believe you should know the answer to is this:
How long should you walk a day to lose belly fat?
A lot of experts recommend 30 minutes of walking and, yeah, I believe that’s effective. According to this article from Harvard, a 185 lb person walking at a moderate pace (about 3.5 mph) for 30 minutes burns 178 calories.
Do that for about 5 days a week and you’d burn around 900 calories. If you’ve been sedentary, this much should certainly help you lose weight (given that you eat around the same amount of food).
However, remember that the ultimate goal is walking 10,000 steps and at this pace, you’d probably need around 60 minutes to cross the 10k mark.
This is where your baseline comes in. From there, you should…
Slowly increase your steps
“Okay, but by how much? And when should I increase my steps?”
The MayoClinic says to add about 1,000 steps every 2 weeks and, sure, that’s reasonable. In fact, we might probably consider this a standard.
But if you think you need more time to adjust, that’s absolutely fine, too. Even runners take about 4-6 weeks to adjust to training. Given, running is more intense than walking but If you’ve been sedentary or have nagging injuries, taking more time before adding more steps is the wiser option.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that you add more than 1,000 steps particularly if you were relatively active even before you started this 10,00-step journey. The more fit you are, the faster your body can adjust to exercise.
In this case, a range of 2,000-2,500 steps every 2 weeks is what I recommend.
Losing weight through walking isn’t just about increasing your steps though. It’s also about…
Ramping up the intensity
There’s really not much to say about this except that the harder you work, the more calories you burn — and at the end of the day, that’s what all this weight loss thing is all about.
There are quite a number of ways you can do this, too, which is what I’ll be telling you about next. So…
Here’s how to add more steps to your day (and make walking more challenging):
1. Walk faster
The term “brisk walking” gets thrown around often and, honestly, I don’t think people know exactly how fast a brisk walk is supposed to be. Seriously, try and search Google and I bet you get different answers, so we won’t even talk about speed here.
Instead, just walk faster than you normally would, enough so you’re sort of catching your breath but can still talk.
You will gradually adjust to that intensity though and when you do, walk even faster. At this point, try walking like you’re so late for an important meeting that you don’t really care if you spill your coffee.
2. Use the stairs
Taking the stairs is like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. Not only do you add steps, the angle also makes each step more intense regardless of how fit (or unfit?) you are.
One reason is that it uses a different source of energy, one that’s more quickly expendable, than walking.
Another reason is that although walking and climbing the stairs use the same muscle groups, they’re being forced to fire differently. Imagine doing lunges on an incline and that’s basically what climbing the stairs is like.
And then there’s climbing down the stairs. It might seem easier but it requires a different kind of muscle firing altogether — and that’s just more work (and steps!) you need to do.
3. Talk to your colleagues instead of sending an email
Given that it doesn’t take anything away from your work, consider actually walking towards your coworker to discuss what’s supposed to be in an email. Or, you know, you could do both.
For one, it helps build rapport when you’re talking face to face. More importantly for this topic though, you’re adding steps. No matter how few those steps are, they still add to your total.
4. Make use of your building’s design
Again, this is regarding your workplace. If you need to go to the bathroom, or refill your water bottle, or use the copy machine, maybe use ones on a different floor (yay for more stairs!) especially if it’s not that urgent.
5. Don’t forget to walk the dog
This is honestly the one walking advice that I enjoy the most. I own 3 dogs myself and ever since I got them, I’ve been on more walks. I had to because it’s my responsibility.
If you own a dog yourself, it’s yours, too — and I think it’s a great way to add more steps. Also, dogs pull on their leash sometimes, so that makes walking more of a challenge, too.
However, if you don’t own a dog, maybe offer to walk someone else’s. This way, you do a friend a favor, earn the trust of the most loyal animals in the world, and get your steps in at the same time.
6. Park farther
Like, the farthest possible corner of the parking lot. Whether it be at the office, the mall, the groceries, or wherever, this forces you to walk. Just make sure you remember where you parked.
7. Go window shopping
My wife loves doing this (any husbands relate to this?) and of course I have to walk with her. It’s honestly not my favorite part of malling but, hey, a few hundred steps is still a few hundred steps.
8. Explore the grocery store
Now, this I like better!
Personally, I visit every corner and every aisle of the grocery store before I even pick something up.
And, when I’m done going around the grocery store, I do 1 more lap and this time, actually pick up the things I need. It takes a little more time, sure, but it’s also a great way to increase my step count.
9. Make more trips
For the sake of burning calories, don’t be a hero and just carry 1 or 2 bags at a time. Again, this is going to take a bit more of your time, but if you want to walk 10,000 steps a day without doing it all in 1 go, simple tweaks like this are vital.
10. Carry weights with you while you walk
The more you weigh, the more calories you burn while walking.
Having said that, ankle weights, wrist weights, and even weight vests work great. However, you don’t really want to wear these on times you’re not working out, do you?
In that case, carrying around a backpack works, too.
11. Take a different (harder) route
When you’ve been so used to just walking around the same route everyday, your body adjusts to it. Especially if you’ve been walking on mostly flat surfaces, your walks can get boring real quick.
Solution? Walk somewhere else. Preferably routes with hills or tall buildings that allow you to use the stairs to make it more challenging. Also, try walking the long way home.
12. Get off a couple of bus stops earlier
I think this is a good way to sneak in more steps to your commute. Alternatively, you could also walk to a farther bus stop before actually getting in one.
13. Dine in instead of driving through
Are you planning on eating take out again for dinner? Well, that’s not very healthy, is it?
But, hey, I understand that cooking can be a hassle sometimes. And, if you do decide to get fast food, at least go inside the actual restaurant instead of using the drive through so you can squeeze in a few steps.
14. Do your chores. All of it!
Chores can be a drag, man. I get it. But you can’t deny that even if it’s just taking the trash out, you’re still adding steps to your pedometer.
Now, imagine if you also checked the mail, went out for groceries, mowed the lawn, washed your car, and swept the floor all on the same day. That’d be a few hundred steps, easy!
15. Walk while you talk
If you’ve got someone on the phone and especially if you know it’s going to take a while, just walk around the house while you’re talking.
Say you’re on the phone with your BFF and gossiping or talking about life and stuff, you just know that’s going to be at least another hour with your ear on the phone. Make the most of that time and just start moving your feet.
In a nutshell, I think how to lose weight walking 10,000 steps a day is all about being aware of where you’re at right now (fitness-wise) and slowly building yourself up by incorporating more walks into your everyday life.
This includes parking farther away, taking the stairs, and a bunch of other things that’ll force you to use your feet.
If this helped, do us a favor and share this to your friends who might also need our assistance. Thanks!