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Can 20000 Steps a Day Help You Lose Weight?
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Can 20000 Steps a Day Help You Lose Weight?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 25, 2022
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10 min

Today, we discuss why you need to walk 20,000 steps. But is it truly worth spending time on, and are there any notable benefits? Let us find out one step at a time.

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Exercising is one thing that health practitioners constantly preach about as a mandatory activity for everyone, irrespective of their age, sex, and physical condition. There are different types and levels of exercise, meaning you indeed will find the one for you. 

Walking is one of the easiest physical activities out there. As a primary form of exercise, this physical activity creates many positive changes, including weight loss, better sleep, and an improved cardiovascular system.

However, how do you go about this exercise to see these positive benefits? Today, we look at if walking 20,000 steps a day is a great idea or not. Is it a real challenge, and how can it transform your overall health for the better? Walk with us as we go through the details.  

How Many Calories Do 20,000 Steps Burn?

With 20,000 steps a day, you can potentially burn 600–800 calories. 

You must consider multiple factors when ascertaining the number of calories burned when you take a 20,000-step walk. These factors include body weight, workout intensity, and duration.

In retrospect, A 125-pound person will burn about 135 calories during a 30-minute walk at 4 miles per hour, and a 155-pound person with the same walking speed will burn 175 calories.

Granted, you can increase the number of calories burned by increasing your pace. However, it would be best to use a calorie counter to get the exact amount of calories you burn at the end of your 20,000 steps.

How Many Miles Are 20,000 Steps?

The distance covered walking 20,000 steps depends on many personal factors like your walking speed, sex, height, stride length, route, and fitness level. As such, the distance will vary from person to person. However, on average, 20,000 steps account for walking approximately 10 miles.

To understand this better, take, for example, two persons, one 5’4 and the other 5’6. If the 5’4 person has a 2.2 feet stride length, they will cover a distance of 8.5 miles with 20,000 steps. If the 5’6 person has a 2.5 feet stride length, they will cover 9.2 miles with 20,000 steps.

If said persons were to walk 4 miles per hour, it would take them about 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete this daily routine. 

Still, it might be a bit difficult logging in 20,000 steps every single day, especially if you live an extremely busy life. In contrast, research reveals that the average American logs 3,000–4,000 daily steps. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of strength training weekly. 

With a 5 days per week routine, you get 30 minutes of physical activity each day, coupled with 2 days of strength training. You can even go up to 300 minutes weekly to gain more benefits. Thus, it would help if you made special preparations to total your daily steps. 

The best way to achieve this is to break down your walks into sections and spread them throughout the day. Still, you cannot just go from walking 4,000 steps a day to 20,000.

Have a good idea of your daily average, and then slowly add more steps until you get comfortable and reach your goal.

5 Benefits of 20,000 Steps a Day

Walking 20,000 steps a day is quite the task for anybody. Still, you gain many health benefits when you commit to your exercises, whether cardiovascular or strength training. This exercise caters to heart health, mental health, weight management, and many others.

On that note, we take a quick look at 5 health benefits you get when you commit to logging in 20,000 steps every single day.

#1 Promotes weight loss

Walking is one of the best tools to employ when it comes to weight loss because it allows you to burn calories. Taking 20,000 steps every day increases your metabolism and pushes your body to burn more calories and shed stubborn belly fat.

But, at the end of the day, totaling 20,000 steps daily will not lead to efficient weight loss. For that, you must pair your walk with a healthy diet. 

#2 Improves sleep quality

According to a study, an estimated 50–70 million Americans suffer from recurrent sleep loss and sleep disorder, which hinders daily functioning and negatively affects health and longevity. Similarly, over 30 million Americans age 30 and above turn to over-the-counter drugs to get better sleep.  

Walking, in general, is a great fix for this as you feel exhausted after your workout, forcing your body to shut down faster and longer, something you will absolutely love, especially if you are a morning person.

In hindsight, getting better sleep helps you feel sharper, gives more energy, improves your immune system, boosts cognitive abilities, and enhances productivity. 

#3 Improves cardiovascular system

Poor heart health is one of the biggest issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Being inactive can result in the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances on the inner walls of the arteries. 

Clogged arteries result in partial or complete axing of blood flow, raising the chances of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure, all of which can become fatal. 

Your daily 20,000-step walk will combat that by strengthening your heart muscles, improving blood pressure, and increasing heart and metabolic rate.

#4 Boosts mood

Walking 20,000 steps covers quite the distance, and this goes a long way in improving your mood and overall brain function. 

According to research from Harvard, walking helps cater to depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental issues, going as far as stalling the use of antidepressant drugs. That is because it elicits the release of endorphins, a hormone tasked with dealing with pain and stress. 

Similarly, spending quality time outdoors, flourishing in the fresh air, will significantly improve your attention span, memory, creativity, and energy levels. 

#5 Introduces challenge

Walking 20,000 steps a day is a fun way to challenge yourself, especially if your current lifestyle is borderline sedentary. Research shows that the average American spends 93% of their lives cooped up inside their homes, which can lead to unfavorable circumstances.

This walking workout revamps your focus and alertness as it stokes your heart to provide more oxygen-rich blood to the brain. More blood equals better brain function, which also equals better physical performance.  

So, if you maintain that inner monologue on how to combat living a sedentary lifestyle, opt for this exercise. It is an excellent alternative to sweating it out at the gym, and it is easy and a great way to commune with nature.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Stepping 20,000 Steps a Day?

At first glance, not many side effects are attributed to taking 20,000 steps a day. Yes, walking 20,000 steps every day is generally pain-free and will help cater to abdominal obesity, positive mood changes, and heart health. However, it does come with a fair share of cons.

In that regard, we have outlined 3 negatives linked with walking 20,000 steps every day.

#1 Time-consuming

Walking 20,000 steps is inherently time-consuming compared to other exercises that offer similar health benefits. 

Most of us spend our days preoccupied with one task or the other and barely have enough time for ourselves. Squeezing in 2 hours of walking, even if it is during our free time, might seem like a counter-intuitive idea.

However, you can bypass this by walking with other people. Interacting with like-minded people during your work helps ease the feeling of loneliness and boredom, tricking your brain into thinking time passed by quicker than it did. 

#2 Increased appetite

Fatigue and exhaustion are not all you have to worry about walking 20,000 steps daily. You typically struggle with hunger each time you attempt and complete this challenge. 

Still, you do not want to fall victim to eating too much since you can quickly eclipse your daily calorie requirement. If you feel hungry, make sure you are not overeating; otherwise, if you are worried, stick to drinking more water.  

Some people notice that their hands swell when walking. Don’t worry, this might happen because of excess fluid buildup, and this is nothing to worry about if you don’t feel any other symptoms.

#3 Takes time to see results

According to research on women’s health, it takes about 12 weeks to see results from walking. The desired changes, such as weight loss and muscle development, happen progressively.

However, positive changes, including enhanced mood and lowered stress levels, happen from day one of your exercise. That is if you are fit enough to take on 20,000 steps.  

Tips on How to Increase the Number of Daily Steps 

Here are 4 top tips to help you reach your 20,000 steps a day.

#1 Walk to work

If possible, walking to work in the morning and returning home on foot is the ideal way to get more steps in. You’ll get your heart rate going, boost your energy levels, and save money on public transport and petrol.

If your commute is too far away, park the car further away to get your morning walk. Every little thing helps when trying to increase your daily steps. Breathing in the clean air is a great way to start your day!

#2 Use stairs instead of an elevator 

Even the simplest choices in everyday life can ramp up your steps for the day.

Always choose the stairs over taking the elevator or escalators. With regular stair climbing, you will reach 20,000 steps a day sooner. It’s also a great form of exercise, as it helps burn fat and build muscle in your legs. 

You might notice the difference in a matter of weeks.

#3 Wear comfortable shoes

If your feet aren’t comfortable on your walks, there’s a problem. 

It’s impossible to enjoy a walk if your feet are in pain, so you will wind up ending the walk early. If your uncomfortable shoes have caused injury, you may lose days waiting for your wounds to heal until you can start walking comfortably again. 

A good footwear investment is an investment in yourself. You can enjoy multiple walks pain-free!

#4 Schedule walking time

Schedule time throughout your week for walks to ensure you meet your step goal for the day. It will help you stick to routines and create good habits for life.

Remember, you don’t need to cram in a 3-hour break every day to complete 20,000 steps a day. Spread it over the day, perhaps in the morning and evening.

How Long Does It Take to Walk 20,000 Steps? 

3–4 miles per hour is typical for most healthy adults. That means the average person can walk 20,000 steps in approximately 2.5 hours. 

If the route is complicated, you may need several hours to reach the 20,000 step mark.

Walking is time-consuming. But remember, you don’t have to complete your 20,000 daily steps in one go. Your step count adds up quickly throughout the day, from traveling to work to moving around the office. 

You can spread your steps out if you don’t have the free time to spend hours on long walks.

A Word From Our Coach

A walk of 20,000 steps a day is a marvelous way to reduce belly fat, lose weight, tone your legs, clear your mind, and promote good health without needing fancy, expensive workout programs.

Still, it would help if you were not precarious about your exercise routines. That is because consistency is the only way for you to see positive results. Coupled with a proper diet, you will surely reach your fitness goals.

Before you venture into any workout routine, get in touch with a personal coach to ensure you are doing things right. So many factors go into proper exercise execution, and doing the opposite could result in multiple injuries, and you do not want that.

FAQs

Are 20,000 steps a day good for weight loss?

Yes, taking 20,000 steps every day works wonders for your weight loss journey, as you will burn between 135 to 175 calories.

How to relieve calf pain after walking 20K steps?

An excellent way to go about this is using compression bandages. They help restore blood flow to your calves, thereby relieving pains.

How many steps is it recommended to do per day?

For the most part, the benchmark for how many steps to take a day ranks at 10,000. However, you are free to add more steps based on your fitness levels and workout goals.

Conclusion

Unlike other exercises, walking 20,000 steps a day comes with no extra cost! Coupled with its many health benefits, it makes sense why you should add this to your routine, especially if you live a busy life.

Yes, there are negatives drawn to this exercise, but ultimately, the pros outweigh the cons. As such, go to the nearby store, grab a solid pair of walking shoes and some comfortable clothes, and start stepping. 

An active lifestyle plus a healthy diet will improve your overall well-being.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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