Walk The Weight Off

Mike Coval
January 7, 2021

….or to maintain.

NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is a part of the weight management equation and one of the biggest things contributing to NEAT is the # of steps you take throughout the day.

If you're struggling to lose weight or maintain your weight, then doing something like focusing on the # of steps you get during the day is a good way to help yourself make some progress.

Try this rough draft (feel free to modify to what works best for you) to help get you started.

If you already get at least 10,000 steps per day, then don't read further.  You're doing a great job, and the likelihood that walking contributes further to your weight loss/weight management efforts is minimal.

1)  Track # of steps over the next week.  If you have an Apple Watch, pedometer, or even your Iphone you can track the # of steps you take throughout the day.  Do your best to not alter your behavior (aka intentionally walk more) because you're consciously tracking your steps.

2)  Whatever your average is for the week, increase by 1,000 steps and set that as your goal.

3)  Implement strategies that will help you get those extra 1,000 steps.  These strategies can include, but aren't limited to:

-dedicating specific times to go for walks (great for mental clarity and stress management as well).  15 minutes will be plenty of time.  Plus, you can get views like this.

Great scenery from a weekend walk

-parking further away from your destination when you're going to work (if you go to work nowadays), the store, etc.  For example, I parked in the back of the parking lot at Costco this past weekend.  In just a 25 minute trip into the grocery store I managed to get 2,000 steps. 

-go outside and play with your dog

-make up games at home to get more steps in.  For example, during the lock-down my morning routine was to grab a water and my caffeine for the morning and head upstairs to my work office.  Normally, I would grab both at the same time.  To inconvenience myself and get extra steps, I would grab my water and walk upstairs, back downstairs and grab my caffeine, and then back upstairs to my office.

4)  Every two weeks, bump your new step goal up by 1,000 until you're at least 7,000 steps per day.

There's a little bit of research out there regarding steps per day, but the thing to keep in mind with steps per day (and pretty much everything else) is that we're in a N=1 situation.  In other words, you're unique and what is effective for you will likely differ from the next person.

The bottom line though is that if maintaining your weight or losing weight is a challenge for you, then you more than likely can step up (pun intended) your game when it comes to walking throughout the day.

Don't let tracking your steps become an obsession or an additional stressor.  The idea is to:

1)  Appreciate that steps in a day plays a role in any weight management program
2)  Create awareness 
3)  Take action

Once you have a grasp on it, then track however you see that is most fit for both your mental & physical.

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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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