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The benefits of walking are endless, and one of them is weight loss. Most experts say that 10,000 steps a day can help you stay healthy, but when it comes to losing weight there are other factors, too – such as calorie consumption and how fast you walk.
We’ve spoken to three knowledgeable fitness experts to give you a detailed guide on how you can walk the right number of steps a day to burn those calories and lose weight. So, pull on your exercise-suitable footwear (we have some suggestions if you’re looking for the best women’s walking shoes), and let’s get started.
The benefits of walking
Whether you’re going for a quick stroll with the dog, or for a long country walk, there are numerous benefits, says Beachbody On Demand coach Idalis Velazquez. “Walking can improve your mood, circulation and support your joints. As well as helping you burn calories and lose weight, walking will also help you sleep better at night. Plus, it can help lower your blood sugar, boost immune function and also energy.”
In fact, a study from Harvard University showed that 75 minutes of brisk walking every week could prolong your life by almost two years. The NHS recommends we should be active for 150 minutes a week. So, adding walking to your weekly exercise regime gives you an opportunity to complete this goal with ease.
How many steps a day will burn calories?
While it may sound a lot, 10,000 steps a day is a great guideline for how many steps you should be walking. But it’s really about what’s right for your body.
Idalis says it’s also dependent on factors. This includes your weight, the intensity of your walking and how long it takes you. While Openfit trainer Alasdair Fitz-Desorgher says losing weight is all a matter of calories in vs calories out. “For sustainable weight loss, you want to be burning about 300 more calories more than you consume each day.”
On average to lose a pound of body fat, you would need to burn around 3,500 calories a week. Calculations, based on an average body weight, shows 10,000 steps a day is sufficient enough to help you burn 3,500 calories. However, you can use calculations and fitness devices to make it more personal to you.
How many steps a day am I actually walking?
There are formulas used by experts to work out exactly how many steps you need to take to burn x-amount of calories, based on your weight, step pace and level of intensity – it can get a little complex, so try a helpful online calculator.
Know how many steps you need to take each day for optimum fitness? Then one of the best ways to track your steps and weight loss is with one of the best fitness trackers. These allow you to input your weight, track your calories and also feature other functions such as heart rate monitors. You can track how many steps a day works for you – whether that’s 10,000 steps a day or more.
How to increase the intensity of your walking
If you’re not burning enough calories when you walk, there’s always ways to increase the burn. Some are as easy as investing in Nordic walking poles. Idalis recommends hills: “Walking uphill will increase your heart rate and your muscle activation. You will be burning more calories as well as strengthening your glutes, core, hamstrings and calves.”
Sam Gregory, cofounder of F45 Stratford, uses this interval-like routine to step it up: “Walk 30 seconds slowly, then 30 seconds fast, then carry this on for 20 minutes or half an hour. This will make a massive difference to the amount of calories you burn.”
Tricks to stay motivated
The right type of walking shoes or good trainers will also help your motivation. If your old pair of walking shoes have seen better days, then invest in a new pair. However, make sure they have a snug fit so they don’t end up rubbing your feet as you walk.
Still working from home and don’t have a daily commute to help you get your steps in? Then it’s a great idea to use your lunch time for your daily walk. Play some music or a podcast and you’ll be racking up those steps in no time. Alasdair also recommends “picking somewhere interesting or scenic to walk, so you can become absorbed in the enjoyment of it, rather than just thinking of it as exercise.”