Be Presidential: 10,000 Steps Per Day
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) recently launched a program –Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) – to encourage Americans of all ages to combat obesity and lead healthier lifestyles. Adults can win the PALA+ if physically active for at least 30 minutes per day (or 8,500 steps on a pedometer), five days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks.
Let’s Look at the Numbers
The concept of 10,000 steps per day is said to have originated in Japan, just before the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. This concept inspired various fitness programs around the world; many bodies of government have also adopted and incorporated it into their national health/wellness programs,such as the PALA+. Fitness experts who endorse the idea of walking for losing weight generally support the “10,000 steps per day” plan because the numbers do, in fact, add up.
Let’s say you are a male adult weighing around 170 pounds. After walking 10,000 steps, you will burn around 500 calories.This estimate is, of course, subject to the terrain on which you are walking (level or uphill), the pace at which you are walking, and so many other factors. However, we can use it as an average estimate to assume that this plan can help you burn around 3500 calories per week. Science tells us that it takes 3500 calories to to burn one pound of fat, so an individual can expect to ,n lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks by walking 10,000 steps per day.
The Numbers are Not Everything
While some hardcore gym instructors will argue that numbers are the only things that matter, I personally have a different view on this. Healthy living and weight loss do not work merely on merit of numbers. They both require you to make a mindset shift to set achievable weight loss goals while deriving the healthiest ways to accomplish them. That means to drop the pounds, you have to also look at your diet to support your weight loss goals.
Set Achievable Goals and Maintain Them
If your intent is to lose 20 pounds through walking, you need to create a plan, set smaller goals within the bigger picture,, and track your achievements along the way so that you can maintain your newly-shifted mindset change. Consider the following when crafting your plan:
Time duration – Are you going for a quick walk in the morning? Will you continue with an evening walk when you are back home from work?
Venue for your walking – Where will you walk your 10,000 steps? Is it at work or school or at a park?
Measuring your achievements – Will you use a pedometer to measure the steps you have walked? Which day will you weigh yourself every week?
Keeping updated progress records will help motivate you to continue with the lifestyle changes you are making. Also, remember to be kind to yourself when you set goals . It’s best not to be overly ambitious; instead stick to goals that will make your weight loss journey a gradual one in which you work continuously to improve.
Best Practices for Walking Healthily
As you set out to walk 10,000 steps a day, remember that achieving this daily goal must be done in a healthy way. . If you are carrying out your plan in the summer, make sure to avoid long walking sessions outdoors in excessively hot weather. Ensure that you wear supportive and comfortable walking shoes so there are fewer chances of injuring your ankles or legs. You don’t want to suffer an injury, causing your weight loss plan to come to an abrupt halt, do you? You also need to keep yourself well-hydrated, especially in the warmer seasons.
Monitor Your Dietary Choices
Regardless of your exercise, you will not see real weight loss if you stick to poor dietary choices. . Remember the 3,500 calories we talked about earlier? You need to burn this amount on top of the calories you are taking in. So, if you indulge in high-calorie goodies and sweet desserts right after your walking sessions, it’s unlikely that you will accomplish your weight loss goals.
However, that does not mean that you should overly restrict calories either. Not eating as a method of losing weight is neither safe nor effective. The best weight loss happens when you keep your calories at a safe level (1,800 for men and 1,200 for women), but get these calories from nutrient-rich recipes featuring lean meat, vegetables, and fruits.
All in all, it’s certainly possible to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks by walking 10,000 steps per day but you need to focus on your mindset change, and examine the other lifestyle changes you are making in order to support your weight loss campaign. Remember, losing weight should never just be a numbers game; it should always be about how fit and healthy you can be.