You’re on a quest to lose fat but, between your hour-long commute, desk-bound office job and evenings spent catching up on Netflix (no judgement here), there’s simply no time for a home HIIT workout, and all intentions of completing a strength training workout have gone out the window.
Lucky for you, there’s an easy way to burn fat that doesn’t involve burpees in-between emails. We're talking about walking, of course, and, even better news—you don’t even have to top up your steps to lose fat.
'As a rule, walking should be part of your daily routine for general health and wellbeing,' says PT Scott Laidler.
No surprises there – a study by the UK government revealed that walking can reduce your risk of developing illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers and that one brisk ten-minute walk per day can lower your risk of early death by 15 per cent.
Even better – it’s free and accessible to almost everybody.
Walking for fat loss
However, you’re not only reading this because you want to improve your general health. You’re wondering how many steps you need to do to lose fat.
'If your goal is fat loss, I’d recommend aiming for 5,000-7,000 quality steps – so either elevated or at a brisk pace,' Laidler says.
Why? Because speeding up your stroll and walking uphill will increase your heart rate – and that’s when you begin to burn calories.
'When your heart rate reaches upwards of 100-120 bpm, age-dependent, [or roughly 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate; 220 - your age], you enter what’s known as the fat-burning zone, where fat is used as your primary energy source,' Laidler adds.
In other words, you torch cals.
How many steps are needed to lose fat?
Which brings us on to that magic number. Get your maths head on.
Walking at a pace of 3mph (or 20 minutes per mile) could burn upwards of three calories per minute – that's 80 calories for a 30-minute walk.
However, increasing your pace to 5mph (12 minutes per mile) could more than double your calorie burn, meaning more than 180 calories for that same 30-minute walk.
Obviously, it’s worth remembering that you all burn calories at different rates, so that number could be higher or lower – but as a rough guide, know your walking speed and measure how long you’re up and active, and you can leave your pedometer app at home.
Steps for fat loss—invest in the right kit
Oh, and a route or destination...
5 easy ways to increase your minutes spent walking
We’re all familiar with the 'get off the train a stop early' tip, which is beneficial if you aren’t a) driving to work, or b) getting a direct train from London to Edinburgh (though, the latter would definitely burn a fair few calories).
However, there are a few easy ways to up your steps without working up a crotch sweat on the way to the office…
1. Leave your pre-prepped lunch at home
Wait, WHAT? If you’re a repeat offender of eating al desko, not having a ready-made meal will force you to take a lunch break and walk to find food. Just try to venture further than your office canteen…
2. Up your water intake
Aim to drink a certain amount each hour while at work, say, half a pint, and set a timer to remind you to get up and refill your glass. Two birds, one stone.
3. Enforce a 'social stroll' rule
A what? Let us explain. Ever find yourself slumped on the sofa, endlessly scrolling through Insta posts? Thought so.
Instead, stand up every time you want to check social media and walk around until you’ve finished your snoop session. (Note: this does not mean burying your head in your phone while crossing roads/navigating busy streets. That’s just dangerous/annoying.)
4. Kill time with walking
While the kettle boils, while TV ad breaks are running, while you’re waiting to use an occupied loo, just walk it out. Aim for a few stair ascents.
5. Opt for an active evening
Night out? Head to somewhere like Swingers in London (a bar with an indoor crazy golf course) or a bowling alley to up your steps while slurping your bev.
Best 4 trackers to count your steps
Noted the above equation but want a more accurate guide of how many steps to lose fat you’ve done? Try one of these trackers…
1. Huawei Band 2 Pro
Why? It has built-in GPS, which provides detailed info on how far you’ve walked, and syncs with your phone to ensure you don’t miss a message or alarm while you’re mid-activity. Plus, it is also relatively affordable at $89).
2. Fitbit Inspire HR
The latest launch from Fitbit automatically tracks your workout (even if you forget to log it in the app), and sends you regular reminders to keep moving throughout the day. Plus, it's a activity tracker steal at just $178.
3. Garmin Vívofit 4
Why? It provides a personalised daily step goal to encourage you to walk further and clock up more quality, fat-burning steps. Plus, similarly to the Fitbit, it’ll only set you back $125.
4. TomTom Spark 3
Why? Especially good if you’re looking to log workouts too, the TomTom Spark 3 has the ability to track everything from your daily walk to your swim and gym session. 24/7 activity tracking captures your total steps, active minutes and calories burned. It costs $249.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health UK.