The ‘walking 10,000 steps per day’ mantra has been around for some time now. It has been offered as the panacea for most lifestyle-related health problems that have become widespread in the last couple of decades. However, have you ever wondered as to how did this 10,000 figure come about? Or if the claim is backed up by reliable scientific research and is not just another fad propagated by publicity hungry fitness celebrities?
The origin of walking 10,000 steps every day to lose weight can be traced back to Japan. Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, a prominent pedometer researcher, says the 10,000 figure originally espoused wasn’t really based on any medical research or study. Naturally, the figure and its actual impact has been a point of much debate in many circles.
Research too shows that the 10,000 steps per day figure is not really the magic number it’s touted to be. However, it’s a pretty reliable indicator of how active a person is throughout the day. For instance, people who walk greater distances are linked with being lighter than people who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Another study that covered number of steps per day, weight, BMI (body mass index) and other health indicators showed that people who walked comparatively more steps per day, on average weighed lesser and enjoyed a lower BMI.
Walking 10,000 steps per day – How many calories does it burn?
There is near-uniform consensus that an ideal weight loss program is one that involves burning up to 200-300 calories per day through moderate to intense exercises. If you intend to achieve this rate of calorie burn through the 10,000 step formula, you would need to cover roughly 3,000 of those steps through brisk walking or light jogging. That should comfortably take you over the calorie burn needed to lose weight successfully. Remember that how many calories you end up burning is ultimately a function of your weight and the speed with which you move or exercise.
Let’s look at some more numbers. For an average human being of average stride length (around 2.5 feet for men and 2.2 feet for women), 2,000-2,500 steps constitute a distance of roughly one mile. Now for a person who weighs 150 pounds, walking one mile can burn around 80 calories. Depending on how much you weigh, walking 10,000 steps can burn anywhere between 250 to 600 calories. To know more about how much distance is covered with each step you take, you can use any one of the several pedometer steps to calorie converters available online.
That’s provided you use a pedometer in the first place. It’s an excellent feature that is built into many smartphones and fitness trackers these days and is absolutely worth your money. A pedometer measures, or rather offers an estimate, about the number of calories you’ve burned by walking a specific number of steps. Certain trackers even consider the speed with which you’re walking or jogging when estimating the rate of calorie burn.
While the process of burning calories continues even at rest, you can definitely burn more calories for every minute that you move around; even simply walking around for five minutes acts as a minor metabolism booster. And if you can manage to run or even walk briskly, your rate of calorie burn is sure to accelerate.
How to cope with the plateauing effect of walking?
If you are new to the idea of walking your way to weight loss, the results in the initial months will cheer you no end. However, people who’ve been there and done that are well-versed with the plateauing effect, a phenomenon where the same set of activities no longer get you the same results as before.
The simplest solution to this problem is to increase the number of steps. So if you’re already clocking 10,000 steps per day and are not seeing the kind of results you enjoyed early on, just bump up the daily step count by 2,000. Make sure to keep your calorie intake the same while increasing the step count and soon than later you are bound to see positive results. Another thing that might help is adding more intensity to your walking style. So if you walked 3,000 steps out of the daily 10,000 in a brisk manner, do the same for 5,000 steps now.
Walking 10,000 steps daily – The practicality of it
Typically, inactive people walk around 3,000 steps in the course of their daily lives. This is well short of the daily 10,000 steps figure. Moreover, modern life is such that covering that many steps every single day would be highly unlikely unless your job requires you to do so. However, spending between 30 to 60 minutes walking at even a moderate pace can cover the daily step count requirement comfortably and can reduce your health risks to a great extent. You can further use advanced fitness trackers, pedometers or even smartphone apps to alert you throughout the day whenever you are stationary for too long.
One step at a time towards a healthy future
There is enough evidence to suggest a daily step count goal positively influences people into paying more attention to their calorie intake and overall activity levels. Sure, the 10,000 step figure might not be for everyone. However, it’s an excellent starting point from where you can begin the journey towards a healthy life.
If you’d like to know more about how fitness bands can help you in making a success out of the ’10,000 steps a day’ mantra, check out the MevoFit Drive. The Drive is a range of fitness trackers from MevoFit that helps you keep track of the number of steps you walk, the number of calories you burn, the total distance you travel and the quality and quantity of your sleep. Featuring an OLED display, the MevoFit Drive is compatible with all well-known smartphone brands and is complemented by a highly functional app, a scratch and water resistant build, social media notifications and a unique anti-theft feature.