The number of daily steps required to lose weight

It’s clear that staying active is key to being healthy, and fitness trackers and smartwatches have become popular tools for tracking activity.

But how many steps should a person take to lose weight?

That’s not such a simple question.

While evidence is limited on exactly how many steps per day are needed to lose weight, experts say you should get about 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise each week, said Amanda Paluch, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Institute of Applied Life Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

That’s about an average of 22 minutes a day on the low side and 45 minutes on the high side, Paluch said.

“And we know that for weight loss and weight maintenance, you really have to get to that higher goal,” Paluch said.

“We need to exercise more often at this moderate-to-vigorous intensity to see real weight loss,” Paluch added, but “we’re really not sure how much that equates to steps per day.”

Follow steps

That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t follow his steps.

“These kinds of devices can really help us track and set goals,” Paluch said.

Harvard Health cited a review of recent studies showing that people who were overweight or obese and who had chronic health conditions were aided in weight loss by wearing fitness trackers.

In the studies reviewed, participants had weekly goals for steps or walking minutes and were most successful when those programs lasted at least 12 weeks.

Those 10,000 steps

The idea of ​​hitting 10,000 steps isn’t new, but proving that number works is more challenging.

Still, a study published in the journal Obesity found that taking 10,000 steps a day, with about 3,500 of them as moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time, was found to be associated with improved weight loss in a behavioral intervention. that included a calorie-restricted diet.

Another study, recently published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that for every 2,000 steps a study participant logged, their risk of premature death fell by 8% to 11%, up to 10,000 steps. Researchers also found that 9,800 steps per day produced the greatest benefit.

And a recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that walking 10,000 steps a day reduced the risk of dementia, heart disease and cancer.

More walking or running equals more calories burned, said Dr. Chip Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, about the study when it was published.

“Generally speaking, we say 100 calories are burned per mile run or run,” Lavie noted.

Get started with walking to lose weight

Don’t get discouraged if you only achieve modest weight loss. Even that can have great benefits. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing just 5% to 10% of total weight can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.

Walking can also reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says most Americans walk about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day.

Figure out how much you walk, then add 1,000 extra steps every two weeks, suggests the Mayo Clinic, by walking the dog, walking together as a family, or parking farther from your destination.

Set the pace

Pace can also make a difference.

“We do know that intensity matters for weight loss. So if we start walking briskly, we’re really confident that doing enough of it can support weight loss,” Paluch said.

This can be done in short periods at intervals or in longer organized workouts.

It may be that for a particular person, the goal is not the steps, but the minutes of physical activity. Or it could be counting the miles in a day and knowing how much they are getting at a fast pace.

Even with robust exercise, diet is crucial to weight loss in most cases, Paluch noted.

“Exercise can provide many additional improvements in other health factors, but without any nutritional program, it is very difficult to lose weight,” Paluch said. “They really go hand in hand when we think about losing weight. It’s the combination of being active and following a structured diet.”

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