10,000 steps sounds like a lot, right? Well, if you have a sedentary work environment like mine where your body is inactive most of the day, reaching this distance can be a challenge. However, increasing your step goal may be just what you need to improve your health and lose weight. Here’s what I found after I started walking 10,000 steps a day.
Knowing the average distance of 10,000 steps can help you get an idea of the goal you’re setting for yourself. I calculated the distance to get an idea of what I’m getting myself into. When converting 10,000 steps into km, it turns out that it’s approximately five miles or eight kilometers if you measure the distance using an average stride length of 2 - 2.5 ft.
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Imagine adding five miles or eight kilometers of walking to your day. If you run regularly, it may be easier, and most will assume that running has better weight-loss benefits. Does it, though?
To fit in 10,000 steps in your day, you need to find out how long it will take you to reach that goal. The time it will take to reach 10,000 steps depends on your stride length and walking speed. For example, doing 10K steps with a brisk walk takes me about an hour and 25 minutes.
On average, it should take an individual about one hour and 45 minutes to take 10,000 steps; however, this indicates a more relaxed pace. However, it’s not necessary to do it all in one sitting. In fact, the trick is to incorporate steps into your daily routine to keep your body active and your blood flowing.
If you love a good workout, you can still benefit from reaching your 10K daily steps goal, as the number of steps you take per day is more beneficial to your overall health than step intensity.1Saint-Maurice, P. F., Troiano, R. P., Bassett, D. R. 2012. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA. DOI:10.1001/jama.2020.1382Here are some of the top benefits of reaching your 10K daily step goal:
You don’t have to do intense workouts to have a healthy heart; in fact, a 10,000 steps workout where you walk at a steady pace is a powerful tool in keeping your heart healthy and preventing cardiovascular-related diseases.2Murtagh, E. M., Murphy, M. H., & Boone-Heinonen, J. 2010. Walking: the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Current Opinion in Cardiology. DOI:10.1097/hco.0b013e32833ce972
Walking at a moderate pace combined with a balanced lifestyle and diet can have dramatic weight-loss effects.3Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. 2014. Give Your Ideas Some legs: the Positive Effect of Walking on Creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. DOI:10.1037/a0036577 If you’re not into intense workouts, weight-lifting, or running, walking is definitely an underrated way to shed and keep off extra weight.
Walking is a top remedy if you have difficulty falling asleep or focusing. Not only does it ease anxiety, but it also increases creative thinking.4Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. 2014. Give Your Ideas Some legs: the Positive Effect of Walking on Creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. PMID:24749966Your creative side awakens when you go for a walk, and the effects can last long after you’ve settled at your desk again.
The amount of weight you can lose by incorporating 10,000 steps into your day also depends on other lifestyle factors, including how many calories you’re consuming daily and whether you’re already active by working out.
If you maintain your daily calorie intake or create a slight calorie deficit, walking 10,000 average steps per day is a great way to lose weight. The number of calories you’ll burn by walking 10K steps a day will not necessarily be the same as someone else.
Still, if you shave some calories off your daily intake, even just cutting out liquid calories by only consuming water and black coffee and tea, you’ll be able to see a notable difference after one week.
Even though I work out about four times a week, I found that my step count still remains under 10,000 steps a day. I realized the reason for this is that, after my workouts, I go straight back to my trusty office chair and stay there for most of the day. Additionally, if I'm not working, I'm also not really being that active as I tend to watch videos, browse on social media, or just lie on by bed daydreaming.
I decided to take on the challenge of reaching my 10,000 steps goal every day for two weeks - even during weekends! Finding ways to incorporate steps was challenging at first, but I discovered new ways of keeping my body active during the day. First, I incorportated a 30-40 min. walk every day, whether I'm working out or not. After only a day or two, I found my energy levels skyrocketing and my mood improving.
I also started taking breaks every hour and do house tasks like sweeping the floor, dusting, doing laundry, and cleaning the kitchen. Before you know it, your steps are adding up, and after two weeks of reaching my steps goal, I felt like a new person.
Get as close to 10K steps as you can and stay happy and healthy. After you’ve implemented your 10,000 step goal and you’re gradually starting to make it, you won’t only lose unwanted weight - you’ll also have a clearer mind, a stronger cardiovascular system, and you’ll want to walk more!
Increasing your step count steadily to 10,000 steps a day, especially if your current step count is quite low, will empower you as you start speeding up your metabolism and shedding those extra pounds.
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