What Happens When You Walk 10,000 Steps A Day
Over the years, there has been an increasing inclination among people towards walking, be it to lose weight or meet any other fitness goal. Not only is walking the easiest way to remain fit but also the most economical. So many are setting goals such as completing 10,000 steps in a day and there are a range of apps and gadgets that help one track this too. However, does walking really help one stay fit? What are the effects of walking 10,000 steps every single day on your body?
The relationship between walking and calories
So how many calories exactly do we lose after walking 10,000 steps?
Well, that depends on a number of factors. People who weigh a lot need more energy to move and hence, burn more calories than those who weigh less. Suppose you weigh 180 pounds (or 81 kg), you will burn around 100 calories per mile as per a rough estimate. Hence, when you do 10,000 steps, you will burn 3500 calories per week.
The speed at which one walks is also an important factor. For a person who weighs 180 pounds, a leisurely 30-minute walk at 2 miles per hour results in the burning of 102 calories. However, the same 30-minute walk at a moderate intensity (3.5 mph) results in a calorie burn that is increased by 54 per cent to 157 calories.
Why is this so? It’s straightforward: the quicker you go, the higher your heart rate will be, and the more calories you will be able to burn over the same distance.
There is no denying that walking increases the daily calorie expenditure. But if you don’t know your net calorie balance, it would be of no benefit whether you walk 10,000 or even 20,000 steps a day. So it’s important to keep track of the calories you consume and how much you expend in order to lose weight.
Benefits of walking
1. Regular walking increases the amount of oxygenated blood delivered to your muscles thereby improving your blood circulation. The fitter you are, the more easily this occurs and the harder you can exercise. Since, the heart is a muscle too, walking has a positive impact on heart health and helps you battle weariness and increase your energy levels.
2. Walking daily strengthens the lungs and the muscles around them. Your body’s capacity to use oxygen effectively increases with the pace and volume of oxygen you inhale. Your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your body uses during rigorous exercise) increases as you become more fit. Hence, walking has a positive impact on your lungs.
3. Research has proven that walking increases the blood flow to your brain and helps it release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which are responsible for stimulating your mood. Hence, when you walk consistently, you feel less worried and increase your creativity, productivity and focus.
4. Walking improves the density and overall health of bones and reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis later on in life.
5. It increases your flexibility, lowers your chances of injury, and lessens the number of aches and pains you experience throughout the day.
6. High blood pressure can be prevented and managed by physical activities like walking. Regular walking can help your blood flow more easily by reducing the stiffness of your blood vessels.
7. Walking also enhances the effectiveness of insulin in your body, which means it increases the response of body cells to insulin, helping in better utilization of glucose. Hence, it could keep type 2 diabetes at bay or under control.
8. Daily walking can help you build or tone up your muscles by causing minor tears in them and helping them grow further. This leads to an increased number of cells and an increase in the size of the cells.
How to meet the goal?
Do you wonder if it’s even possible to walk 10,000 steps in a day? Yes, it indeed is if you plan well and do not give up on your fitness goals. For starters, keep track of how many steps you already take in a day. You can then decide on the objectives for progressively boosting your step count and slowly increase it to 10,000.
Moving towards your objective in reasonable steps is more efficient than attempting to complete it all at once. If you do it slowly and steadily, the likelihood of suffering an injury or getting overwhelmed by the entire plan is also less.
It would also help to speak to a healthcare professional to create a strategy that works for you. Remember the old Chinese proverb, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Make sure that each step of yours, whether it’s the first or the 10,000th, has a purpose and is worth the while.
Rayyan is a 2nd year undergrad pursuing MBBS from HBTMC, Mumbai. He is an avid writer and almost always finds himself on the other side of the screen typing away or tweeting. Deeply passionate about football, academia, medicine and teaching, not necessarily in the same order.