When you think about walking for weight loss, many of us will automatically set a challenge to walk 10000 steps a day. There is nothing wrong with this. But have you ever considered that a 20000 steps a day weight loss plan could work just as well if not even better than doing 10000 steps?
How Many Steps A Day To Lose Weight?
If you were to pose this question to anyone, chances are that they will say that you need to walk 10,000 steps a day to lose weight. However, as much as people take this number to be the goal, it hasn’t exactly been scientifically proven (1).
According to an article by The Atlantic, the notion that we need to walk 10,000 steps a day was invented in 1964 when a Japanese company made and used 10,000 as a marketing ploy to start selling their first pedometer.
So how many steps should you be taking a day to lose weight and improve your health? According to the researchers in the above mentioned study, increasing your daily steps by a mere 2000 steps can lead to positive health outcomes (1).
Because there is no specific equation that determines how many steps equates to how many calories burned, you are advised to concentrate on your walking pace. I.e., a 155 pound person walking at (2):
- 3.5 miles per hour (mph) burns 298 calories in a hour
- 4 mph = 334 calories burned in an hour
- 4.5 mph = 372 calories burned in an hour
The faster you walk, the more calories you burn and the more steps you take the better it is for your health. Make it your goal to safely walk more briskly and cover more distance by walking more steps a day.
Is Walking 20000 Steps A Day Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, it is. From the numbers seen above, walking helps burn calories which equates to weight loss and the faster and further you walk the more calories you burn. Thus a ‘walking 20000 steps a day weight loss’ plan is a fantastic idea for anyone who wishes to be rid of those stubborn extra pounds.
Other Than Weight Loss, What Are Other Benefits Of Walking 20000 Steps A Day?
While weight loss is the most common reason why many people would choose to do a 20000 steps a day weight loss challenge, it is not the only benefit. Here are some other advantages to trying this challenge:
Reduced belly fat.
Leading a sedentary life has been linked with increased belly fat and waist circumference (5). If you have realized that your clothes have started getting tighter around your belly, then walking 20000 steps a day can help combat this. One 2014 study showed that participants burned an average of 400 calories while walking for 50 to 70 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 12 weeks. While the steps in this study were not counted, doing a walking 20000 steps a day weight loss challenge could easily lead to a loss in subcutaneous and visceral adiposity (fat) (3).
A great way to relieve stress.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is through exercise. Combining walking and meditation (at the same time) is a fantastic way to help combat stress. Try doing some mantra meditation by repeating your manta(s) or choice every few steps.
Improves lung health.
Brisk walks help strengthen and increase lung capacity, which helps you breathe better and keeps your lungs healthier for longer.
It is a good workout for people with asthma.
Because it is a low-intensity activity, it is a great workout for people with asthma as they can breath easily. It is also one of the workouts that has been shown to help improve asthma symptoms in the long term. If you are suffering from asthma, please first ask your doctor if 20000 steps a day weight loss exercise plan is a viable option for you.
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Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
Walking, especially at a brisk pace, increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart, and increases blood circulation through your body, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your organs. Researchers have found that walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and cuts the risk of dying by 32% (6).
If you are struggling with bloating and/or constipation, try adding walking to your daily routine. One of the surprising 20000 steps a day results could end up being regular bowel movements and reduced bloating.
Lack of balance is a problem that bothers many older people. While they may not be able to walk 20000 steps a day, walking more will definitely help improve their balance reducing the risk of falling over and breaking bones as it helps build their lower body strength.
People living with chronic pain can find extreme relief by taking brisk walks everyday. If you are dealing with a painful condition such as osteoarthritis, walking, while it may be painful at first can help improve this condition and the chronic pain associated with it. Remember to first consult your doctor and if they give you a go ahead, start slow and work up to doing the 20000 steps a day weight loss plan.
Reduces risk of chronic illnesses.
Walking improves your overall health which translates to reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers.
Strengthens your bones and may slow bone loss.
In conclusion, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress.
How To Start Walking Every Day?
Starting a 20000 steps a day weight loss challenge can be daunting, especially if you are new to it, i.e. don’t often walk a lot. However, this does not mean that you cannot do it. Here are some simple and unique ways that you can incorporate in your life to help you kickstart your walking 20000 steps a day weight loss goal.
It might seem quite obvious but many people starting the 20000 steps a day weight loss challenge will automatically set 20k steps a day as their goal. If you are not used to walking this can be quite hard on you. Instead reduce your goal and work up to the ultimate goal of 20000 steps. Start with 5000 and slowly work your way up increasing the number weekly.
Take theс stairs.
Be it at the office, in your apartment building, or at the mall, foregoing the elevator for some stairs is a simple yet challenging way to increase your steps and burn some calories.
Get a dog.
Whether you choose to adopt or foster one, a dog can help you with your 20000 step a day weight loss goal because they always need to go out to do their business and are always excited to go outside and play.
Allocate yourself moving breaks through-out the day.
If you spend all day in front of your computer, chances are you don’t get to walk around much. In the same way we give ourselves study or work breaks to stretch or check out social media, why not use this time to take a short walk instead? Not only will this help add to your steps count, but it will also leave you feeling rejuvenated for your next reading/working sprint.
Park further away.
We all know and understand the convenience of parking closer to your workplace. While parking further might look like an inconvenience those few hundred or so steps can quickly add up, especially if you have to keep going back and forth to the car.
Walk to work/school.
If your office or school is not that far away from home, leave the car at home and choose to walk. You might have to sacrifice some sleep and leave the office/class earlier (for safety reasons), but doing this can be the boost you need to help you walk 10 miles a day. If you leave further from work and use public means, you can opt to alight further away from your usual station and walk to work thus adding up your steps for the day.
Invest in a treadmill desk.
Standing desks are all the rage today but did you know that a treadmill desk might be better for you? It might be more expensive, but if you are dedicated to making your 20000 steps a day weight loss goals a reality, then you should consider getting a treadmill desk instead. Walking burns more calories than standing and it places less pressure on your back than standing. A point to note is that if you have balance, back, or joint problems, you should probably avoid this option (4).
Play with your kids.
Get your kids away from their electronic screens of choice and suggest a game of hide-and-seek or catch. You get to kill two birds with one stone like this – spend quality time with your children and make a dent in your step goals.
Take a lap around the store.
Take a lap around the grocery store or mall before you start shopping. You could also choose to visit a new grocery store. Not knowing where all the produce and items are located will definitely make you walk around more.
Don’t take in all your groceries in one go.
How many times have you arrived in your kitchen with numb fingers because you didn’t want to take multiple trips from the car to the kitchen? Instead of cutting the blood supply from your fingers by carrying all the bags at once, take multiple trips. Extra points to you if you have to go up and down the stairs for this.
Take the scenic route.
Irrespective of where you are going, be it to the restroom, to a friend’s house, or walking to the store, take the longer, more challenging route there.
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Drink more water.
Not only is it good for your skin and metabolism, but the act of walking to and from the bathroom for pee breaks will add to your daily steps. Remember, it is the small things that help you reach your goals.
Treat it like any other workout.
Just because walking does not sound as daunting as lifting weights or running for weight loss does not mean that you should not treat it as a proper workout.
Make sure to plan.
A 20000 steps a day weight loss goal a day is a lot. In most cases, you will not manage to get to 20k steps in one trip to work, the store, or to a friend’s house. Plan your days that way you have ample time to walk throughout the day. You can do 10,000 steps in the morning and an extra 10,000 steps in the evening.
Ensure that you are safe.
Be sure to walk in well lit areas -if you are walking at night or very early in the morning and always use routes that have a lot of people on them. Always remain alert.
Take rest days.
Attempting to walk 20000 steps everyday is not good for your health or weight loss goals. Give yourself a one or two day break to allow your body, especially your legs time to rest. Walk as little as possible on these days – you can choose to binge watch your favourite shows, read a book, or just nap.
Fix your diet.
Walking 20000 steps a day weight loss challenge will not matter if you are not eating in the right ways. Drop the overly processed foods, alcohol and sugary drinks, and count your calories. If you want to completely overhaul your diet for something else, eating plans such as the Mediterranean diet, and plant-based diets such as veganism or a vegetarian diet could be great options to try out.
How Many Miles Should I Walk A Day To Stay Healthy?
There is no specified number of miles that you should be walking to stay healthy. However, according to Harvard Medical School, we should try to walk for 30 to 45 minutes nearly every day to stay healthy. The number of miles you can cover in this time all depends on your stride length and how much effort you put into the activity (6).
According to a 2011 study by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, healthy adults can take anywhere between approximately 4,000 and 18,000 steps a day (all dependent on how active they are). If we assume that 10000 steps equals 4 to 5 miles (depending on stride length), healthy adults -with shorter strides can walk anywhere between 1.6 to 7.2 miles a day.
If we use this same calculation, choosing to walk 10 miles a day could equate to walking 20000 steps a day.
20000 Steps A Day Weight Loss Results: What To Expect?
If you choose to take on the 20000 steps a day weight loss plan, here are some things that you can expect to see:
As stated, walking is an exercise like any other and thus depending on how much you weigh and how fast you walk, you can burn anywhere between 670 to 1000 calories a day by just taking 20000 steps. Doing this constantly for several months can help you lose and keep off more than 100 pounds.
Improved focus and memory.
Like any other kind of physical activity, it helps boost the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. All of these hormones affect focus and attention.
Are you wondering how long it will take you to see results from your 20000 steps a day weight loss exercise plan? It might take anywhere from two weeks to a month. Remember that we don’t all lose weight at the same pace. Factors such as starting weight, type of diet you are consuming, carbohydrate intake, loss of water weight, and mode of measuring your weight can all affect the number you see on the scale.
Instead of looking at how much weight you are losing every morning or every week, choose to concentrate on getting in your steps daily and over time you will see changes in your weight, how your clothes fit, your overall health and more.
How Many Calories Burned Per Step?
The Bottom Line
A 20000 steps a day weight loss plan is a great low intensity workout. It works great for anyone who does not wish to go to the gym but still wants to lose weight. Like every other workout plan, it works best if you plan and dedicate yourself to the process.
Please note that if you have an issue with your joints or are suffering from a chronic illness, please speak to your doctor before undertaking this workout.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2018, health.harvard.edu)
- Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Should you use an active workstation at home? (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- Time spent in sedentary posture is associated with waist circumference and cardiovascular risk (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Walking: Your steps to health (2020, health.harvard.edu)