How Many Steps Does It Take to Lose a Pound? (Our Answer)

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Have you started a walking habit in order to lose weight?

The truth is walking can be a great long-term solution to shedding weight, but it's not an overnight solution. So even if you're getting thousands of steps per day, you might wonder:

“How many steps does it take to lose a pound?”

In this article, we will briefly answer this question and then provide some actionable advice, so you can get the best results from your regular walks.

Let's get to it…

Side bar: One simple health habit you can build is to drink this superfood green drink, which gives you a boost of energy and supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to get through the day. (You can also read the review of it here.)

How Many Steps to Lose a Pound?

Let's start with a quick answer to your question and then I'll do a bit of math to provide more context:

You will need to walk 70,000 steps in order to lose one pound of weight.

Now let's break down the numbers:

  • You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound.
  • On average, a person burns 100 calories for every 2,000 steps.
  • This means you'll burn 500 calories for every 10,000 steps.
  • 3,500 calories / 500 calories = 7 walks of 10,000 steps apiece.
  • 7 walks * 10,000 steps = 70,000 steps.
  • 1 week = 1 pound

Obviously, this isn't an exact science. There are many contributing factors that will increase or decrease the total number of calories burned on your walks. This includes:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Walking speed
  • Intensity
  • Environment (i.e. walking on hills, beach, uneven terrain.)

But as a general of thumb, you can expect to lose one pound for every 70,000 steps.

Want to build a morning routine to shed those extra pounds? Then watch this video to discover the 11 habits to lose weight and feel great:

70,000 Steps for One Pound…WTF?!?

Yes, I'll admit that 70,000 steps sounds like a lot of walking in order to shed a single pound.

Perhaps you might think that it's not worth the effort.

But think of it this way, if you challenge yourself to get an average of 10,000 steps per day, that's one pound per week — just from walking.

If you do the math, that's:

  • 4 pounds in a month
  • 12 pounds in three months
  • 24 pounds in six months

On average, a 170-pound male will burn 500 calories in a 10,000 step workout. This number increases when a person speeds up their pace, or due to uphill treks.

This number could also go down for lighter males, women or anyone who maintains a slow pace. If you stick to this goal of 10,000 steps a day, it adds up to burning about 3,500 extra calories a week.

In total, you will lose one pound a week with numbers like these. One pound a week is not a large amount of weight loss, but it is a steady, realistic and achievable goal. (Read this post for more examples of SMART goals for weight loss.)

Again, these aren't exact numbers because our bodies respond differently to this habit. But if you commit yourself to “getting your daily steps,” then you'll build a habit that can help you slowly shed those pounds.

Furthermore, if you are someone that does not have a lot of time for a full workout, but feel the need to get back in shape, then walking can be the solution for you.

Going on a diet is generally a more temporary solution, as it often results in a rebound effect. As it was said before, 10,000 steps a day is a great way to start making a sustainable lifestyle change.

And remember, this is just weight you'd lose from walking. If you combine this habit with others like planning healthy meals, controlling your portions, and replacing junk food with healthy snacks, then you can supercharge your walking efforts and lose a couple of pounds per week.

How Do I Lose Weight While Walking?

Now let's take things one step further with a little more math.

To lose weight through walking you’d need to create a “step goal” based on how much you’d like to shed:

Current Weight – Target Weight =
# of Pounds to Lose

# of Pounds to Lose = # of Weeks

So let's do some quick math again:

  • 180 pounds – 160 pounds = 20 pounds to lose
  • 20 pounds = 20 weeks

20 weeks seems like a long way away, but think of how confident you will feel once you reach your goal.

Even if you have to wait a few weeks longer than you'd like, you will still get the results that you have worked extremely hard for. Just think, you can lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks just by walking 10,000 steps per day. (You can track your steps and other fitness goals with the help of these weight loss apps.)

Most people would not even consider doing this type of routine, because the majority of people trying to lose weight, or get into a healthier lifestyle, want results fast. (Learn how to turn your walk into a cardio workout in in this post.)

These people usually turn to fad diets that lead to failure, because of the simple fact that these types of diets are too high maintenance and unrealistic.

Find out how many calories burned walking for weight loss.
A great way to start a positive life change is by committing to walking 10,000 steps per day.

Walking those extra thousand steps a day can seem like a challenge, but when you think about it, walking is a regular part of our day. It is something that we do without even thinking about it.

Walking every day, even for just a few blocks, can become a great routine. You could take the dog out with you, or your significant other, and make it a special bonding time for the two of you.

Final Thoughts on Steps to Lose Weight

In general, walking is one of the best health habits you can build. Not only does it help you lose weight, it also has a wide-range of benefits like giving you extra Vitamin D from the sun, stronger leg muscles and that daily rush of endorphins.

Getting your blood flowing will give you that extra boost of energy and will also help you sleep better at night. These days it is very hard to find a workout routine that fits your schedule and your preferences, but walking 10,000 steps a day is something that everyone can do each day.

And if you'd like to learn more, then I recommend checking out these walking-related articles:

Good luck and enjoy your next walk!

Taking 10,000 steps a day will burn a different amount of calories for you than it does for me, depending on your walking pace, weight, and age.
How Many Steps Does It Take to Lose a Pound? (Our Answer)

10 thoughts on “How Many Steps Does It Take to Lose a Pound? (Our Answer)”

  1. “These types of diets are too high maintenance and unrealistic.”
    Not exactly. Not for someone who is willing to pay the price. The problem is, most of us want results for free.
    I’m on fast since the beginning of August. It’s almost 2 months. It’s extreme. I’m hungry almost all the time.
    Prior to this fast the longer period I meticulously fasted was 6 days.
    This time I’m just willing to pay the price.

    OK, enough of playing devil’s advocate.
    I love your idea of weight loss: something ingrained in your daily life. That’s how it is done. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Not by walking explicity, but by doing “something that we do without even thinking about it.”
    It’s a really cool idea.

    • Michal,
      I agree that most people want immediate results and don’t want to put in the work it requires in order to lose weight permanently. Fad diets are typically either low calorie or eliminate one or more food groups, which are both recipes for failure.

      I don’t see how depriving your body of calories (fasting) is going to help you lose weight permanently. If it’s spiritual in nature, then fine but as a weight loss tool, it’s a terrible idea. Just think what happens when you start eating a “normal” diet again. You will gain your weight back. Only this time, all the weight you gain, will come in the form of fat and some muscle (depending on your diet).

    • Don’t worry Steve, (I think) I know what I am doing.
      It is spiritual in nature. Weight loss is a byproduct.
      I just didn’t realized I am able to be constantly hungry for such an extended period of time.
      My muscle mass seems to linger, my fitness performance is the same or better.

    • Steve/Michal,

      I agree with Steve here. While extreme fasting/calorie restriction will always take the weight of short term, a lot of the weight that is taken off is lean muscle mass, when you are hungry all the time, your body begins to turn to muscle rather than fat for its needs. This means less weight but a lot easier weight gain.

      There are some good points to intermittent fasting -but as a long term weight loss strategy, not a great idea, IMO.

      As the rabbit and the hare story told us -slow and steady wins the race.

  2. Great article.

    I love adding something simple and almost unavoidable to my life when it comes to self improvement. For example, instead of going to the gym, I bike everyday around my neighborhood. Hard not to start when all I have to do is step outside with my bike.

    Anyway, here is a tip when it comes to walking. Scientists have found that sitting for extended periods of time shuts down production of an enzyme in our body that burns fat (lipase).

    Now, if you are like me, you probably hate those treadmill desks. This is what I do instead. I use a pomodoro timer on my cell phone. So I work for 25 minutes and walk on my 5 minute break.

    This way I keep my fat burning enzyme active, I get a mental break from work, and I’m moving towards my 10,000 steps.

    It is three wins all in one.

    • Mark,

      Lots of great insights here, and a lot I agree with. I also think simple and inevitable habits are the best. The smaller and easier habits are the ones that will really stay around. Stack enough and you can do anything in time. Same with your pomodor method of “break walking” I also often take a short walk around the house during my pomodoros. It is not only a way to keep the weight off -but it helps give you a bit of energy for the next 25 minutes

  3. I started to walk 10000steps in last 15Jan 15 . Now more than 1 month . But I am not loosing a single pound why?
    Please respond. Now my walking steps raised to 12000 a day

    • Abi,
      Great that you are walking 10k steps a day. That is certainly a great lifestyle choice. Perhaps you are not losing weight due to your calorie intake? Quite often people eat more when they are exercising as they feel the extra treat is justified.

      If you calories in arent less than the calories burned, you wont lose weight.

      Good luck!

  4. Great article, I just got a pedometer and have started walking 12500+ steps per day. I think it’s important to factor in how much you walked in an average day, before starting the step program, in order for the pound a week equation to work.

    For example, if my weight was stationary, and I was walking an average of 3,000 steps per day, wouldn’t that mean that in order for me to lose a pound a week, I’d have to be walking 10,000 steps on top of that ie. 13,000 steps (or cut some calories from my diet)?

    • Katherine,

      Great to hear that you are taking action and walking 12500+ steps per day. That is really awesome.

      I think I see what you saying your comment, it is both true and untrue. 3000 steps is a fairly sedentary number. Really just a minor amount of walking. So not really enough to get some of the benefits of a daily walking habit, and that way I would say that how much walking you did previously would not really matter. On the other hand though, how many calories you consume is a very important metric. The assumption in this article is that you’re eating approximately the right amount of food (roughly your weight X 10 in calories. So a 200 pound person should not be having more than 2000 cal a day) in that way, I would say you have a good point in that extra walking could be justified to compensate for a slight bit of extra caloric intake. However, as a word of warning, it is actually easier to eat a little bit less than to get the extra exercise to compensate. So I would always recommend a healthy and balanced diet along with the daily walking.

      Once again though, starting at 12500 steps per day is really awesome congratulations on a job well done, and keep it up

      Steve

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