A vital part of reaching your ideal body goal is walking.
It's the simplest, most accessible form of exercise but often the most neglected.
The biggest source of your daily calorie burn is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) - the energy you burn doing things like walking, cleaning and gardening.
The more you move, the more calories you burn.
Walking can help you lose weight
I'm often asked if you can lose weight by walking an hour a day
The simple answer is yes.
This study showed that women who walked for 6 months and for 60 minutes a day, lost 10% of their initial weight and that's without dietary restrictions.
Another study found that obese women who walked for 50 - 70 minutes lost around 6 pounds over 12 weeks, compared with women who didn't walk and remained sedentary.
This means that walking alone, can be enough to create a calorie deficit to help you lose weight.
How many calories burned walking 10,000 steps
10,000 steps are roughly 5 miles.
Generally speaking, doing 10k steps a day means that you're exercising for at least one hour.
As I've said, studies have shown that this amount of movement a day helps to burn fat, reduce blood pressure and improve your mood levels - leading to a longer, healthier life.
The number of calories burnt when walking depends on numerous individual factors, like your sex, age, weight, walking speed and terrain.
The average walking speed of an adult is 3 mph (4.8kph).
This walking to lose weight chart estimates the number of calories based on your body weight and walking speed.
Walking but not losing weight
In addition to walking you should also be mindful of what you are eating.
It's commonplace that when you increase your activity levels, an increase in the amount you eat follows.
And by taking in more calories than we are burning, weight loss will not happen.
If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Your body turns the excess energy into adipose tissue (body fat), which will be converted into energy at a later date.
If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. Your body uses your reserves as energy and you burn fat. This is called a calorie deficit.
And, if you both burn and consume the same number of calories, your weight stays the same.
So if you're not losing weight after increasing your activity levels, it's time to take a step back and take a look at your diet too.
To lose weight, you must be consistently in a calorie deficit.
To do this, you can either increase the number of calories you burn through exercise, reduce the number of calories you consume, or do both.
1lb of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.
You would need to create a 500 calorie deficit for 7 days to lose 1 lb of body fat.
Analyse your eating habits and set a calorie goal.
Use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and a pedometer to track your daily steps.
Walking combined with your diet can boost your weight loss further.
Walking for weight loss success stories and tips
When I talk to my clients that have overhauled their lifestyles, they all say that increasing their activity levels made the biggest difference to their physical and mental wellbeing.
Recently I organised a local walk for my Bootcamp team, with the aim of covering 17 miles in under 6 hours.
Not surprisingly, the preceding three months of increased activity levels whilst training for it led to all of them losing further weight.
Here are some of their tips to help increase your step count.
Add a 10-minute walk in after every meal
Go for a walk with friends or family
Schedule in a daily walk with a friend
Do a daily walk with someone who also has a weight loss goal, support each other.
Walk the kids to school
For short journeys, leave the car at home and walk
Walk to your local shop
Walk part of the way to work
Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
Walk whilst listening to music or a podcast
Set a walking challenge
If you've been living a sedentary lifestyle, this program is for you.
Remember to consult your doctor before undertaking any form of exercise.
It's simple and designed to get you walking throughout the day.
I want you to set a timer for 10 minutes and after every meal or snack, walk for the duration of your timer.
Walk for 10 minutes after every meal and snack.
Add this to your regular daily steps and you'll find that you're hitting your 10,000 steps in no time at all.
*It's worth noting that if you find yourself suffering an upset stomach on your walks, try waiting 15 minutes until after you've eaten.
Digestive issues can happen when your body gets confused and focusses on your muscles rather than digestion.
To sum up
By being more active you can lose weight and belly fat by burning calories, as well as improve your mental wellbeing.
For optimum results, If you want to lose weight, combine walking with healthy changes to your diet.
Ben Yates is a personal trainer based at Places Gym Hinckley and Hinckley Leisure Centre in Leicestershire.
To book your free personal training consultation click here