Staying active is clearly the key to good health, and fitness trackers and smartwatches are becoming popular activity-tracking tools.
But how many steps does a person need to lose weight?
This is not a simple question.
Amanda Baloch, assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and the institute, said that while the evidence is limited on exactly how many steps it takes to lose weight per day, experts say getting in about 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per week. . of Applied Life Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Baloch said that’s an average of 22 minutes a day on the low end and 45 minutes on the high end.
“We know that in order to lose weight and keep it off, you really need to get to that higher end,” Balloch said.
“We need to exercise a lot at this moderate to vigorous intensity to really see weight loss,” Baloch added, but “we didn’t really understand how much that was in terms of steps per day.”
This does not mean that a person should not retrace their steps.
“These types of devices can really help us track and identify targets,” Balloch said.
Harvard Health cited a review of recent studies that found overweight or obese people with chronic health conditions helped lose weight by wearing fitness trackers.
In the studies reviewed, participants had weekly steps goals or walking minutes and were more successful when those programs lasted at least 12 weeks.
That’s 10,000 steps
The idea of getting 10,000 steps isn’t new, but proving that number works is much more difficult.
However, a study published in the journal Obesity found that getting 10,000 steps a day, with about 3,500 of those doing moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time, was found to be associated with improved weight loss in the behavioral intervention. which 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, the risk of early death decreased by between 8% and 11%, up to 10,000 steps. The researchers also found that 9,800 steps per day showed the greatest benefit.
And a recent study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found that walking 10,000 steps a day reduces the risk of dementia, heart disease and cancer.
More walking or running means more calories burned, said Dr. Chip LaVey, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the John Ochner Cardiovascular Institute in New Orleans, of the study when it was published.
“In general, we say 100 calories are burned for each mile walked or run,” LaVey noted.
Start walking to lose weight
Don’t be discouraged if you lose weight modestly. Even this can have great benefits. Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walking can also reduce the 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 per day.
Figure out how much to walk, then add an extra 1,000 steps every two weeks, suggests the Mayo Clinic, by walking the dog, hiking together as a family, or parking further away from your destination.
Speed can make a difference, too.
“We know that intensity is often important for weight loss. So doing brisk walking, that’s where we really feel confident that if you do enough of it can support weight loss,” Balloch said.
This can be done in short, intermittent bouts, or in longer, structured workouts.
The goal for a particular person may not be steps but minutes of physical activity. Or it may be by counting the miles in a day and being aware of how many miles they are running at a fast pace.
Even with vigorous exercise, in most cases, diet is crucial to weight loss, Balloch noted.
“Physical activity can provide a lot of incremental improvements in other health factors, but without any diet program, it’s very difficult to lose weight,” Balloch said. “They go hand in hand when we think about weight loss. It’s a combination of activity and a structured diet.”