I often find myself scrolling to the Health app on my iPhone to find out just how sedentary I've been, after a day at my desk. 3,000? Ok not the worst, but not ideal, either. 250? Yikes. I don't need an expert to tell me that spending a whole day on the sofa binging MAFSA isn't doing wonders for my body.
How many steps we should actually walk each day has been a topic of discussion for decades – but, through it all, it seems that one number has reigned supreme: 10,000. So, what makes that number so special? Not one to take things, shall we say, sitting down, I was determined to put this figure to the test once and for all...
What's the deal with walking 10,000 steps a day?
The origins of this golden figure date back to the 1960s when a company began selling a pedometer shortly before the Tokyo Olympic Games. The pedometer's marketing campaign was centred around the number and, when roughly translated, the name – Manpo-kei – means '10,000-steps meter'.
Clearly, Manpo-kei's marketing strategy was a success, given that sixty years on, the number has stuck. Many fitness trackers – such as Fitbits – will encourage the wearer to aim for 10,000 steps a day, and various studies have shown that walking this much can have an array of health benefits, including a reduced risk of developing heart disease, cancer and dementia. Other studies suggest that hitting 10,000 steps a day isn't necessary, and that even walking just 4,000 steps each day can reduce the risk of premature death. Phew, so even on some of my busier home office days, I'm still getting by!
But with so many arguments for and against the 10,000 steps a day goal, should we all be striving hard to hit that magic number every day? Are there actually as many physical – and mental – health benefits as experts say? To find out the answers to those questions, I decided to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month. Here's what I learnt...
10,000 steps a day diary
There are many reasons why the thought of walking 10,000 steps a day can be daunting, but for me, this has always been about time. How on earth am I supposed to fit in so many steps alongside my job, my social life and my downtime? Because of this, walking 10,000 steps a day has always seemed like an impossible feat, especially given that I work from home most of the week so my commute – which consists of walking from my bed to my desk – is pretty minimal and therefore, so are my steps.
Enter: the under desk treadmill.
Finally, the many hours I've spent on TikTok paid off, and under desk treadmills (also known as walking pads) were brought onto my radar, offering the solution to my time concerns. I didn't think twice before jumping at the opportunity to test one out for this experiment, eagerly ready to spend my working hours walking. Surely I'd rack up those steps in no time!
How on earth am I supposed to fit in so many steps alongside my job, my social life and my downtime?
When the treadmill – loaned from JTX Fitness and retailing at £499 – arrived, I immediately noticed how big it was. "What have you got in there? It's so heavy!" the courier exclaimed as he arrived at my front door with the packaged treadmill. He was right, the treadmill was heavy, and much larger than I'd anticipated.
Because I didn’t check the measurements of the walking pad – which, in hindsight, I really should have done – it sadly didn't fit under my desk and instead was relegated to the living room. This meant that I wouldn't be able to walk and work as I'd planned and would need to schedule walking time into my days.
I tried not to let this faze me, telling myself that I'd be able to fit some walking time in over my lunch breaks and could spend some time in the mornings and evenings just using the treadmill whilst watching the TV.
At the start of the experiment, I definitely underestimated how quickly I could do 10,000 steps. I've always been a fast walker – much to the annoyance of my friends who struggle to keep up with me – so I thought it would only take me about an hour to reach this number. Oh, how wrong I was.
After my first hour-long session, completed in the morning on a work from home day, I'd only managed 7,000 steps so I had to hop back on the walking pad at lunch for about 35 minutes to finish off the rest.
Given how much of a speedy speederson I am when it comes to walking, I do think I could have brought this time down had there been more speed settings on the treadmill. The JTX Movelight Walking Treadmill has six speed settings (starting at 0.5kph and going up to 6kph) and the maximum setting is described on the website as being a "light jogging pace", although for me this was just a fast walking pace. Again, as I said, let's keep in mind that I am a fast walker and that, for the average person, the six speed settings will most likely be enough.
Two weeks into the challenge, I was – for the most part – feeling great.
On my work from home days, I loved being able to chuck on loungewear and a pair of trainers (honestly, I couldn't recommend lululemon's Chargefeel workout shoes enough), head down to the living room and just start walking. This was such a time saver, in comparison to getting dressed and going out for a ~proper~ walk, and I was able to smash out thousands of steps before starting work, which really helped set me up for a productive day.
I loved being able to chuck on loungewear and a pair of trainers, head down to the living room and just start walking
On the days that I went into the office, I didn't need to use the walking pad at all. My commute to work includes a 25 minute walk to the train station, which racks up about 3,000 steps, and this number gradually increased throughout the day as I spent time walking around the office (being sure to opt for the stairs instead of the lift) as well as going out for lunch and then walking home from the station at the end of the day.
Sometimes, I'd surpass the 10,000 goal altogether, especially if I had social plans in the evening or if I had a lot of meetings that required moving around the office more than usual. On other days, it was surprisingly harder to get my steps in than I expected, eg. the night I went to a gig and thought 'this'll be an easy win' but ended with me frantically dancing about at 11:45pm in an effort to reach the goal.
As expected, my busy schedule did prove tricky at times, causing me to stress out about when I'd fit my 10,000 steps in. The solution often involved 'making time', such as getting up an hour earlier than I usually would, or sacrificing an hour of my chill-out time in the evenings.
By the end of the experiment I was, quite frankly, exhausted.
On a daily basis, I didn't find walking 10,000 steps particularly strenuous, but doing this every day consecutively for a month did take a toll on my energy levels. Some days, my body was shouting at me to have a lie in and all I wanted to do was, well, do nothing at all. On those days, I found myself struggling the most and the thought of walking 10,000 steps may as well have been a trek to the top of Mount Everest.
Nevertheless, every day I got up and walked – whether I wanted to or not. Having the walking pad definitely made this a million times easier, as I can't say for certain that I'd have finished the challenge if I had to actually leave my house every day. Yes, I'm a total homebody. No, I don't feel bad about it.
10,000 steps a day benefits
Although for me this challenge wasn't about losing weight, I did hope that my jeans might feel a little looser by the end of the month. Spoiler alert: they didn't. Clearly, low intensity walking on its own isn't enough if losing weight is your main goal.
But, upping the pace when it comes to walking could make a difference. "Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier," the NHS advises. "You do not have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your 150 minutes of weekly exercise, as recommended in the physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64."
"Things like increasing the speed of your walking or the incline will increase the intensity of the exercise you're doing, improving cardiovascular fitness and enabling you to burn more calories if weight loss is the goal," adds PT and founder of fitness app WeGLOW, Stef Williams, advising that we should "try to incorporate other forms of movement for a wider variety of health benefits."
What's more: working out is just one side of the coin when it comes to weight loss, and should be combined with a healthy, balanced diet.
Whilst it's true I didn't notice any difference on the scales – who even cares?? – I did notice an improvement in my fitness levels. Towards the end of the month I certainly felt less out of breath after each walking session, and my glutes definitely felt firmer.
As for my mental health, I found walking (especially on the treadmill where I could utilise the speediest setting) to be a great stress reliever. With every step, I felt as though I was pushing through the anxiety that had built up throughout the day/week/month, and helping clear out the negative energy that I was holding on to. I always felt lighter when I stepped off the treadmill and finally experienced those post-workout endorphins everyone has been telling me about!
So, what did I learn?
For me, this challenge was about adding more movement into my day-to-day life – which I certainly achieved. As someone who is really not a fan of working out, I wanted to find something that could help me to keep fit but didn't require sweating my ass off at the gym or lifting weights. To that end, focussing on increasing my steps was the perfect solution.
Despite developing a bit of a love/hate relationship with the walking pad – as I said, some days I really did not want to walk at all – I was pretty devo when I had to pack it up and send it back. I promised myself that I'd order one straight away so that I could keep up with the new habit I'd worked so hard on creating, although it's also worth noting that not everyone will be in a position to purchase a walking pad, as these cost upwards of a few hundred pounds. Thankfully, the great outdoors is open free of charge and, as the spring/summer months roll in, this becomes all the more enjoyable.
By the time I sat down to write this feature – which was just under three weeks after completing the challenge – I still hadn't got around to purchasing a walking pad, but reflecting on all of the positive impacts I'd experienced when using one made me realise how much I missed walking every day.
Although I was still active on office days and at the weekend, my work from home days quickly became pretty (read: totally) sedentary and I noticed myself slipping back into my old ways. My stress levels were higher, and I missed the sense of achievement I felt throughout the challenge, too.
With all that in mind, I decided to commit and order a walking pad – albeit one with more speed settings – and I can't wait to start moving my body again, for both my physical and mental health.
Excitement aside, I don't think I'll pressure myself to hit 10,000 steps every day. Life is all about balance and setting myself unrealistic goals will only end in disappointment. As Williams tells me: "Like anything, it's not about being 'perfect'. If you can't hit 10,000 steps a day don't be disheartened – it's about finding a way of movement and a routine that works for you. Remember that something is always better than nothing."
JTX MoveLight: Walking Treadmill
JTX MoveLight: Walking Treadmill
£449 at JTX Fitness
lululemon Chargefeel Low Women's Workout Shoe
lululemon Chargefeel Low Women's Workout Shoe
Shop at Lululemon
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
What happens if you walk 10,000 steps a day for a month? ›
One study from California State University shows walking more each day can improve your mood, energy, self-esteem, and happiness. Some calculations even suggest it's possible to lose a pound per week by the calorie deficit created from walking 10,000 steps each day. Not bad!How much weight can I lose in 1 month by walking 10000 steps? ›
What is 10000 Steps Equal To? “But,” continues Jamie, “if you walk briskly for 30 minutes and include enough activity throughout the day to reach the combined total of 10,000 steps, you're burning about 400 to 500 calories a day, which means you're losing one pound each week.”What happens to your body when you start walking 10000 steps a day? ›
A study in JAMA Neurology found that walking about 10,000 steps a day was linked to less cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and heart failure), 13 types of cancer, and dementia. Taking 10,000 steps is about the same as walking four or five miles, depending on your stride.How much weight loss transformation is 10,000 steps a day? ›
Some claim that individuals can lose a pound of fat a week just by taking 10,000 steps a day because of the potential to burn 3,500 calories from walking. As a general rule of thumb, a pound of fat contains around 3,500 calories.How many pounds will you lose in a week if you walk 10000 steps a day? ›
Completing an extra 10,000 steps each day typically burns about 2000 to 3500 extra calories each week. One pound of body fat equals 3500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about one pound per week simply by completing an extra 10,000 steps each day.Can you lose belly fat by walking 10,000 steps a day? ›
1) Helps Burn Belly Fat
Fortunately, it isn't difficult to begin losing weight. It just takes a few days to burn a few calories by walking 10,000 steps every day. Brisk walking is also one of the simplest ways to burn off extra calories and prevent the creation of belly fat.
Walking is a free and effective form of exercise for weight loss. When combined with dietary changes, you can lose 10 pounds in 10 to 24 weeks. Start with walking 10 to 15 minutes per day and work up to 30 to 60 minutes per day, depending on your fitness level and schedule.How many steps a day to lose 2 pounds a week? ›
For healthy, sustainable results, you should aim to shed no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Walking 10,000 steps per day for a week burns roughly enough calories to melt a pound of fat.Why am I not losing weight walking 10,000 steps a day? ›
If you're walking every day and not seeing results, you're not burning enough calories on your walks to put you in to a caloric deficit, explained NASM-certified trainer and physical therapist Molly Canu.How long do you have to walk 10000 steps to see results? ›
It's suggested the average person walks about 100 steps per minute – which would mean it would take a little under 30 minutes for the average person to walk a mile. So in order for someone to reach the 10,000 step goal, they would need to walk between four and five miles a day (around two hours of activity).
Does walking reduce belly fat? ›
Walking is a moderate-intensity exercise that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. Simply walking more often can help you lose weight and belly fat, as well as provide other excellent health benefits, including a decreased risk of disease and improved mood.How many miles is 10,000 steps equal to? ›
An average person has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. That means that it takes over 2,000 steps to walk one mile and 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles.How many steps a day for rapid weight loss? ›
If you're trying to lose weight or lose body fat, aim for 10,000 to 12,500+ steps a day. Coupled with an appropriate nutrient-dense diet, you'll be set for success.How many minutes is a 1 mile walk? ›
According to data gathered in a 2019 scientific study, it takes the average person 15-22 minutes to walk one mile. Remember that the weather, your age, the terrain you're walking on, and how fast you're walking are all factors that can impact your mile time.Does 10k steps a day increase metabolism? ›
Benefits of Taking 10,000 Steps Per Day:
1. Boosts metabolism. 2. Burns calories.
To lose weight by walking, you have to burn off an extra 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week. Most people burn around 300 to 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps. Experts recommend gradually increasing steps, aiming for an extra 1,000 steps per day each week.How much should I walk to slim down? ›
As you lose weight, your weight loss from walking may slow. In terms of how the type of walking you need to do to lose weight, a brisk pace is recommended. Walking for 30-90 minutes several days each week will help you to lose weight.Will I gain weight if I walk 10000 steps a day? ›
“Even though it won't prevent weight gain on its own, more steps is always better for you.” Previous studies on the benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day have also found the technique can have no effect on weight, and that vigorous exercise is often more beneficial.Does walking tone your butt? ›
Walking is absolutely a great form of exercise, and one that doesn't get a ton of love because it's so chill and easy compared to other forms of exercise, Saltos says. But, rather than building butt muscles, walking can actually make your bum a bit smaller.How long does it take to see results from walking? ›
After 3-4 days of walking: you will notice the “better fit” or more room in your clothes! After 7 days of walking: real changes are happening! You have used body fat as energy (fat burning!) Muscles feel more toned!
Where do you lose weight first when walking? ›
"There is a strong relationship between intensity of exercise and fat-burning hormones," says Weltman. "So if you're exercising at a pace considered to be hard, you're likely to release more of these hormones." The best part: When women walk, deep abdominal fat is the first to go.Where do you lose weight first? ›
Mostly, losing weight is an internal process. You will first lose hard fat that surrounds your organs like liver, kidneys and then you will start to lose soft fat like waistline and thigh fat. The fat loss from around the organs makes you leaner and stronger.Does drinking water help you lose weight? ›
Water can be really helpful for weight loss. It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. The benefits are even greater when you replace sugary beverages with water. It is a very easy way to cut back on sugar and calories.How much should I walk to lose 3 pounds a week? ›
The ideal target for weight loss is walking 5 miles a day. This will burn around 3,500 calories a week, the equivalent of one pound of excess fat.How many calories do I eat a day to lose 2lbs a week? ›
For example, to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week — a rate that experts consider safe — your food consumption should provide 500 to 1,000 calories less than your total weight-maintenance calories. If you need 2,325 calories a day to maintain your current weight, reduce your daily calories to between 1,325 and 1,825.Is 20,000 steps a day too much? ›
While one study found that walking just 4,400 steps per day reduces the risk of death by 41% compared to walking fewer than 2,700 steps per day, the mortality risk decreases as you walk. Therefore, walking 20000 steps per day is a fantastic workout.Can too much walking cause weight gain? ›
According to the study, the students gained weight even if they walked more than 15,000 steps. Students in the study gained on average about 1.5 kilos over the study period, the researchers said.Why am I gaining weight when I walk everyday? ›
When you exercise regularly, your body stores more glycogen to fuel that exercise. Stored in water, glycogen has to bind with water as part of the process to fuel the muscle. That water adds a small amount of weight, too.Can I lose 20 pounds in a month by walking? ›
At a weight loss rate of ½ -1 pound per week, it will likely take you at least 20 weeks to lose 20 pounds. Losing weight at this pace is safe and will help you keep the weight off long term. To accomplish a weight loss of ½ - 1 pound per week, try to burn an extra 250-500 calories per day by walking.What level of exercise is 10000 steps a day? ›
Experts say, walking 10,000 steps is a form of low-to-moderate intensity cardio exercise. Thus, it can be equivalent to other low-moderate intensity cardio exercises like cycling, elliptical cross trainer, swimming and aquatic exercises.
Will walking 10000 steps a day tone my legs? ›
Yes, walking 10000 steps a day can help tone muscles all over the body, including the legs.Can you get toned legs from walking? ›
Aerobic activity like walking is one of the best exercises to tone legs.Can I get a flat stomach by walking everyday? ›
Studies show walking is one of the best ways to shed belly fat, in less time than you think. Researchers reviewed 40 years of studies on exercise and belly fat and found that just 2 1/2 hours of brisk walking a week--about 20 minutes a day--can shrink your belly by about 1 inch in 4 weeks.How many pounds does it take to lose an inch off your thighs? ›
In general, it takes about 8 pounds to lose your first inch. That is because most of it will be water weight. A more rapid drop of your pounds in the first weeks of your journey is normal, precisely because of water weight.Can walking reduce cellulite? ›
Weight loss can lessen the appearance of an individual's cellulite. Some common aerobic exercises include: walking.
Taking 10,000 steps is equal to walking approximately 5 miles. Unless you have an active job, such as a waiter or nurse, it is difficult to log 10,000 steps with daily activity only. An inactive person takes 3,000 steps or less in their daily activity of moving around the house.Is 10,000 steps enough activity? ›
It also translated as “10,000-steps meter,” creating a walking aim that, through the decades, somehow became embedded in our global consciousness — and fitness trackers. But today's best science suggests we do not need to take 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles, for the sake of our health or longevity.Why walk 5 miles a day? ›
Committing to walking 5 miles a day is an excellent way to improve your health and boost your fitness without stressing your bones and joints as much as high-impact activities like running.How much weight will I lose if I walk 10000 steps 5 days a week? ›
“But,” continues Jamie, “if you walk briskly for 30 minutes and include enough activity throughout the day to reach the combined total of 10,000 steps, you're burning about 400 to 500 calories a day, which means you're losing one pound each week.”How much weight can I lose walking 10000 steps a day for a month? ›
To lose weight by walking , you have to burn off an extra 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week. Most people burn around 300 to 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps.
How many steps is extreme weight loss? ›
How many steps for weight loss? If dropping a few pounds is your overall goal, you'll want to aim for at least 10,000 steps in a day.How many steps should you walk a day by age? ›
And for adults younger than 60, the risk of premature death stabilizes at about 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. This means that adults ages 59 and younger can benefit the most from 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day, and adults ages 60 and older have the most benefits from taking 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.How many miles is a 30 minute walk? ›
Depending on how fast you walk, walking 30 minutes a day is roughly equivalent to walking 1.5-2 miles (2.5-3.5 kilometers).How many miles does the average person walk a day? ›
The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. It's a good idea to find out how many steps a day you walk now, as your own baseline. Then you can work up toward the goal of 10,000 steps by aiming to add 1,000 extra steps a day every two weeks.How much fat will I lose if I walk 10,000 steps a day? ›
Completing an extra 10,000 steps each day typically burns about 2000 to 3500 extra calories each week. One pound of body fat equals 3500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about one pound per week simply by completing an extra 10,000 steps each day.How many calories should I eat if I walk 10000 steps? ›
On average, 10,000 steps are going to come out to be roughly 5 miles. So assuming you weigh 180 pounds, then yes, by simple mathematics, 100 calories x 5 miles equals 500 calories. Over a week, that becomes 3,500 calories.Can you do 10000 steps a day and still not lose weight? ›
If you have increased your walking and are still not seeing weight loss, it might be a good time to look at what you are eating. You may need to make a few swaps. There are many strategies for this, but the key is maintaining good nutrition.What happens if you walk everyday for a month? ›
7 Things That Happened When I Made Myself Go For A Walk Every Single Day For A Month. For a such simple, approachable activity, walking certainly does deliver some remarkable health benefits. Studies show that a daily brisk walk can help lower blood pressure, reduce belly fat, increase energy levels, and improve mood.How much weight will I lose if I walk 5000 steps a day for a month? ›
You will definitely burn the fat, but at a slower pace. Walking 5,000 steps a day can help you lose half a pound per week. Walking 10,000 steps can help you lose one pound per week.Why am I walking a lot but not losing weight? ›
One of the main reasons why burning calories through exercise may still not result in weight loss is due to overexertion, or inflammation of your body. If you exercise too hard on a daily basis, there is an excess of inflammation in your body. All the added up inflammation makes you gain more weight than lose.
How many steps a day for extreme weight loss? ›
If you're trying to lose weight or lose body fat, aim for 10,000 to 12,500+ steps a day. Coupled with an appropriate nutrient-dense diet, you'll be set for success.Does walking flatten your stomach? ›
Studies show walking is one of the best ways to shed belly fat, in less time than you think. Researchers reviewed 40 years of studies on exercise and belly fat and found that just 2 1/2 hours of brisk walking a week--about 20 minutes a day--can shrink your belly by about 1 inch in 4 weeks.Does walking tone the belly? ›
Walking might not be the most strenuous form of exercise, but it is an effective way to get in shape and burn fat. While you can't spot-reduce fat, walking can help reduce overall fat (including belly fat), which, despite being one of the most dangerous types of fat, is also one of the easiest to lose.How does walking change your body shape? ›
Walking is particularly effective for toning your legs and bum, she adds. “The muscles you use when walking include your calf muscles, thighs and buttocks, so these areas will become more toned and shapely.” However, walking may not tone all areas of the body.How many pounds can I lose if I walk for a month? ›
"This means to lose 1 pound, you'll need to walk roughly 35 miles or 70,000 steps. Over the course of a week, this means targeting 10,000 steps a day," says Davis. At this rate, you could lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.What happens to your body when you start walking everyday? ›
Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
The ideal target for weight loss is walking 5 miles a day. This will burn around 3,500 calories a week, the equivalent of one pound of excess fat. Build up to walking 5 miles a day gradually. If you have a high body mass index BMI, and you're carrying a lot of excess weight, your calorie burn rate will be much higher.