Forget walking 10,000 steps a day, because while it may appear to be a good goal, walking 8 miles daily simply isn’t achievable or practical for everyone.
This is why we’re shining the spotlight on the benefits of a more attainable target: 5,000 steps. When it comes to calories burned, health benefits, and setting up a routine, this simplified goal can make fitness more accessible for a large number of people.
Walking 5,000 steps per day can increase the amount of calories you burn, it contributes to weight management, and it promotes overall well-being. It is also much easier to fit into a busy lifestyle.
Let’s explore the number of calories burned with 5,000 steps, discover the associated benefits, and learn how to set up a routine that will work for you.
How Far Will You Walk by Taking 5,000 Steps?
Converting 5,000 steps to miles isn’t exactly straightforward; your stride length matters most. However, if we consider the average stride length of an adult—approximately 2.5 feet—we can make a rough estimate.
This means that 5,000 steps equates to approximately 2.5 miles. This approximation makes the goal of 5,000 steps more tangible, showing that it’s not just about the number of steps taken, but also the distance covered.
If you wish to free yourself from all the extra pounds that have been weighting you down for way too long, start using the BetterMe app and overhaul your entire life!
Can You Lose Weight Walking 5,000 Steps?
Yes, walking 5,000 steps every day can contribute to weight loss. The key principle behind weight loss is burning more calories than you consume, which is also known as creating a calorie deficit (7). Walking is a form of physical activity that helps burn calories and therefore, it can aid in weight loss (11).
The calories burned from 5,000 steps may be dependent on the weight and walking speed of each individual. For example, an individual who is 16 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds will burn approximately 206 calories (14).
In addition to burning calories, walking works in the following ways to help you reach your weight loss goals:
Regular walking can lead to an increase in metabolic rate. A higher metabolic rate means that your body is burning calories, even when you’re resting. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Enhances Muscle Tone
Walking regularly can help tone your lower-body muscles. As you tone these muscles, you will increase your body’s ability to burn calories. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.
Encourages Healthy Habits
Walking can encourage other healthy habits. People who walk regularly often find they naturally start to make healthier food choices, improve their sleep habits, and manage stress more effectively.
Regular physical activity such as walking can support and enhance the optimal functioning of your digestive system (8). This can then help prevent bloating and constipation, which can contribute to a feeling of heaviness and weight gain.
Aids in Insulin Regulation
Similar to other forms of exercise, walking can help aid insulin regulation (3) (16). Regular exercise can help your muscles utilize blood glucose more efficiently, which will reduce your overall blood sugar levels.
Read more: Is Walking In Place A Good Exercise?
Enhances Mood and Reduces Stress
Walking can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood-enhancing chemicals (4). A more positive mood will help with stress management, which can help reduce the likelihood of emotional eating or reaching for high-calorie comfort foods.
How Many Calories Do I Burn With 5,000 Steps?
On average, walking 5,000 steps equates to approximately 2.5 miles, depending on your stride length. The 5,000 steps calories burned may be slightly different for every individual. Your weight and the speed at which you walk are factors that influence this slight variation.
If you manage to burn 200 calories a day by walking 5,000 steps, and you maintain a calorie deficit, this can lead to a calorie deficit of 1,400 calories in a week. Considering that one pound of body weight is approximately equivalent to 3,500 calories, you could potentially lose approximately half a pound per week.
Incorporating other forms of exercise such as weightlifting or incline walking can also help increase the number of calories burned when walking 5,000 steps. In addition, combining regular physical activity with a balanced, nutritious diet will yield the best results for weight loss (18).
Does 5,000 Steps Count As Exercise?
Yes, walking 5,000 steps a day counts as exercise. According to the American Heart Association, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week. This can be broken down to exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week (1).
Walking 5,000 steps can easily equate to 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, it is important to remember that the intensity and type of physical activity you engage in matters when it comes to achieving your health goals.
Incorporating other forms of exercise such as strength training and running can help you better reach your fitness objectives.
Similar to other forms of exercise, walking 5,000 steps a day also has the following benefits for your health and fitness:
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Walking is a form of cardiovascular exercise that can help improve the health of your heart and lungs. It increases your heart rate, which can improve circulation and oxygen supply throughout the body.
Regular walking can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease by keeping your heart strong and healthy (17).
Walking is a low-impact exercise, which makes it gentler on your joints than high-impact exercises such as running or jumping. It helps strengthen the muscles that support your joints, which reduces the strain on them. This can help delay the onset of joint-related conditions such as osteoarthritis (2).
Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!
Regular physical activity such as walking can support and potentially increase bone density and slow down bone loss, which helps prevent osteoporosis. The weight-bearing activity places a positive strain on your bones, which can stimulate bone cells, thereby promoting growth and strength (5).
Improved Balance and Coordination
Walking requires coordination between various muscle groups and helps improve balance. This can be particularly beneficial as we age, as better balance can help lower the risk of falls or injuries (15).
Increased Muscular Endurance and Tone
Regular walking can help build endurance in your muscles, which means that they can work for longer before they become tired. It can also tone your muscles, particularly those in the lower body, which will result in improved strength and an overall healthier physique.
Boosted Immune Function
Regular, moderate exercise such as walking can help boost your immune system, which will make you more resistant to common illnesses such as colds and the flu. This can be attributed in part to the promotion of good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body effectively (6).
Enhanced Brain Health
Walking and regular physical activity can improve blood flow throughout the body and brain, which supports neural health and cognitive function. It can also help delay the onset of dementia, improve memory, and enhance creative thinking (12).
Regular walkers often report better sleep patterns. Exercise like walking can help regulate the natural sleep-wake cycle of the body, promote better sleep quality, and help combat sleep disorders such as insomnia (10).
How Can I Add 5,000 Steps Into My Routine?
Adding 5,000 steps into your daily routine doesn’t need to be a chore or overly time-consuming. Here are some simple methods to add more steps to your day:
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible
- Park further away from the destination so you need to walk a longer distance
- If you use public transport, get off a few stops earlier and walk the remainder of the way
- Set reminders throughout the day to take a break and go for a short walk
- Walk around when you are speaking on the phone
- Invest in a pedometer or fitness tracker to track your progress and motivate yourself
- Join a walking group, which is an excellent way to get regular exercise while having fun with friends
Incorporating these small changes into your daily routine will help you reach the goal of 5,000 steps. It is important to be consistent and aim for the same number of steps each day, rather than trying to do them all in one go.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many calories do I burn per 1,000 steps?
The number of calories that are burned per step will vary based on factors such as weight and pace. For example, a person who is 5’10” tall and weighs 160 pounds will burn approximately 40 calories per 1,000 steps (13)
Does 10,000 steps burn 100 calories?
No, 10,000 steps will typically burn more than 100 calories. The average person will burn between 400 and 550 calories when they walk 10,000 steps.
Will I lose fat if I walk 20,000 steps a day?
Yes, a 20,000-steps-a-day weight loss program can contribute to fat loss as it helps you burn additional calories. However, the exact amount of fat that will be lost is also dependent on other factors such as diet and overall lifestyle.
How many steps does it take to burn 2,000 calories?
Assuming that you burn between 40 to 55 calories per 1,000 steps, you would need to walk between 36,364 and 50,000 steps in order to burn 2,000 calories. You can use an online calculator to find out the calories-to-steps ratio of your walk.
Is 5,000 steps a day considered active?
Walking 5,000 steps a day is a good start, but it may be classified as low activity. The general recommendation for an active lifestyle is approximately 10,000 steps per day (9).
How many steps must I take each day to lose a pound?
In order to lose a pound, you must create a calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. If you burn between 40 and 55 calories per 1,000 steps, you will need to walk between 63,636 and 87,500 steps to lose a pound, depending on your weight and walking speed. While calculating steps is one approach you can take, it is best to consider overall dietary intake and other lifestyle factors to support a sustainable weight loss journey.
What is the ideal number of steps per day?
The commonly recommended number of steps per day for an active lifestyle is 10,000 (9). However, any increase in steps from your current level will contribute to better health and fitness.
The Bottom Line
Walking 5,000 steps daily is a simple yet effective way of improving your overall health. It will help you burn calories while also offering a variety of other benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, joint health, bone strength, balance, coordination, and many more. Establishing a routine is as easy as incorporating more movement into your everyday activities.
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. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids (2018, heart.org)
- Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Endorphins and exercise (1984, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise and bone health across the lifespan (2017, link.springer.com)
- Exercise, Immunity, and Illness (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Gastric emptying during walking and running: effects of varied exercise intensity (1989, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health (2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review (2017, hindawi.com)
- Pattern of Daily Steps is Associated with Weight Loss: Secondary Analysis from the Step-Up Randomized Trial (2008, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physical Activity and Brain Health (2019, mdpi.com)
- Steps to Calories Calculator (n.d., omnicalculator.com)
- Steps to Calories Calculator (n.d., omnicalculator.com)
- The Effects of Physical Exercise on Balance and Prevention of Falls in Older People: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2020, mdpi.com)
- Update on the effects of physical activity on insulin sensitivity in humans (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)