How many steps a day to lose weight is a question that I asked myself when starting on this weight loss journey. Let’s have a wee competition. Guess how many steps you take on an average day. Do you know? I didn’t know the answer to that until I purchased a fitness tracker. I have to stay without it, I wouldn’t have realised that before I started walking for weight loss, my step count was anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 steps, way below the recommended 10,000 steps a day recommended.
Knowing how many steps you need to take to lose weight is an important number and I’m going to share with you what I have learnt from my walking for weight loss journey.
How many steps a day to lose weight: why focus on 10,000 steps?
This figure of 10,000 steps is everywhere and it originated in Japan. Regardless of where it came from it is certainly a magical number that will help you on your walking for weight loss journey.
This magical number of 10,000 steps works out around five miles. Looking at it like that makes more sense as walking five miles per day will certain help with reducing certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or have a positive effect on mental health issues. Another postive from walking 5 miles per day is that the CDC recommends we should be exercising for at least 150 minutes each week.
How many steps a day to lose weight?
Much research has been conducted on this and on average a healthy person would take between 4,000 and 18,000 steps per day. That’s why I think 10,000 is a magical number for us who haven’t been near these numbers before. It’s certainly a great place to start.
I wanted to compare my before steps and after steps so I could show you the difference:
- Before my walking for weight loss journey: average of 3,500 steps per day
- Now: ranges from 11,000 to 12,500 steps per day
How many steps a day to lose weight?
My first figure would be seen as inactive and my figure now would be classed as highly active. I’m really pleased with this! How many steps you should take really does depend on whether you are starting out or if you are already active. If you are just starting out then I highly recommend you download my beginner’s plan to start you off.
If you have been inactive then taking 10,000 steps a day is a great place to start. You will find that you will start to lose weight as you are coming from a place where you were inactive.
The exact number of steps to lose weight is based on your age, gender, what you eat and your metabolic rate, some studies suggest you may need to walk more than 10,000 steps. However the main goal should be to aim for the 10,000 steps and then reassess how your weight loss is going. The 10,000 steps should help you get started on the walking for weight loss journey.
I would also add that walking 10,000 steps is achievable within your daily routine too. My aim is always about fitting walking in to your daily routine. You can head over and read my post on how I get 10,000 steps with a desk job to give you an idea.
How many steps a day to lose weight and improve my overall fitness?
Again you can’t really work out how many steps you need to take to improve your fitness level until you know how may steps you already take. Once you know that then set achievable goals to increase this by 1000 steps each day until you reach the 10,000 target. It should be a target you are happy with and can achieve. Don’t go too fast at the start or you might find you get sore and have to stop – just as I did!
If your current step count is inactive you may want to add 500 steps each day rather than 1000. You know your fitness ability more than I do so see how it goes and what you can do.
Once you increase then if it feels manageable then add more until you reach that magical number of 10,000 steps. If you want to go further then great but if not then continue with 10,000 steps as it has so many benefits. When you reach 10,000 steps you will be classed as active – yippeee!
Another way to increase the intensity is not by adding steps but by walking faster. I have a blog post on tips to turn your walk in to a cardio session that you might find interesting.
How many steps to maintain your fitness level?
If you are at your 10,000 step goal or at the end of your walking for weight loss journey, you can use walking to maintain your weight or fitness levels.
Keep in mind the magic 10,000 steps a day and the CDC recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. That way you will maintain your fitness and weight loss levels. So you question of how many steps a day to lose weight is quite a simple one when you think about it.
Tips to help you make walking part of your daily routine
Now you have worked out how to get to your magic number and what your goal is. How on earth do you make it part of your daily routine? If you are like me then the last thing on your mind when you get home from work is getting changed and going to the gym. I’m not that person and I applaud all those who can! Below I have listed some ways to make walking part of your everyday routine:
- Build in a daily walk during your lunch break. If you can use your lunch break to walk and get those steps in.
- Divid up your day. Do walking in the morning, afternoon and evening. For example I walk to the train station each evening which helps me hit my 10,000 step target.
- March on the spot every hour. Set your alarm for each hour and get up from your desk and march.
- Park further away. Walk as much as possible by parking further away from your office.
- Use public transport. If you can use public transport as there is often walking involved!
- Go shopping. You can get a lot of steps in window shopping!
- Take the stairs. Yes, this may seem obvious but make a conscious effort to use stairs wherever you are.
See how I managed to get my steps in shopping in Belfast and with a desk job:
How to keep yourself motivated
One of the wonderful things about having a fitness tracker is that it is motivating. It’s motivating to see your daily steps increase. I have written a blog post on 13 ways to stay motivated on your walking for weight loss journey.
Happy walking for weight loss!