Is 5000 Steps a day good for weight Loss?

Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise. It requires no equipment other than a good pair of shoes and can be done anywhere at any time. For many people looking to improve their health and lose weight, the question often arises: is 5000 steps a day enough for weight loss?

What are the Current Step Recommendations?

Most fitness trackers and health organizations recommend getting in at least 10,000 steps per day for general health. Here are the step count recommendations from various authorities:

  • The American Heart Association recommends at least 7,000-10,000 steps daily.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests 8,000-10,000 steps for heart health.
  • Fitbit sets 10,000 as the default goal for most users.
  • Apple Watch suggests closing your exercise ring by hitting a calorie burn goal, which often equates to 300-400 calories burned through steps – typically around 3 miles of walking or 7,000-9,000+ steps.

So while 10,000 steps per day is commonly recommended, most experts agree that anywhere from 7,000-9,000+ daily steps is ideal for supporting overall health.

Can You Lose Weight with 5,000 Steps?

While 10,000 steps is the gold standard, is 5,000 steps a day enough to help you lose weight? The answer depends on a few factors:

1. Your Current Activity Level

If you are currently very sedentary, increasing to 5,000 steps daily can make a difference. It may not lead to weight loss on its own, but getting more physical activity in versus sitting for prolonged periods can help burn extra calories and is a step in the right direction.

2. Your Goals

For most people looking to lose a significant amount of weight, 5,000 steps is likely not enough on its own. However, if your goals are more modest, such as losing 5-10 pounds, then 5,000 daily steps may help you achieve that when paired with a healthy diet.

3. How Much You Walk Each Day Currently

If you normally walk 1,000 steps or fewer per day, ramping up to 5,000 steps will burn more energy and could lead to some weight loss, especially if you also make dietary changes. But for those already used to 5,000+ steps, this amount may just maintain your current weight rather than lead to loss.

4. Your Caloric Intake

No amount of steps alone will result in weight loss if your caloric intake remains the same. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume through a combination of activity and dietary changes. 5,000 steps equates to around 2-3 miles of walking, which burns 100-200 calories. Without reducing your normal caloric consumption, this amount of steps will not create the 3,500+ calorie deficit needed per week to see weight loss on the scale.

How Many Calories Do 5,000 Steps Burn?

On average, 5,000 steps will burn around 100-200 calories. However, this varies based on:

  • Your weight – Heavier individuals burn more calories per step.
  • Intensity – Brisk walking burns more calories than casual strolling.
  • Incline – Walking uphill burns more than walking on flat terrain.

A 150 pound person will burn around 100 calories with 5,000 steps. Heavier persons can burn closer to 125-150 calories. Adding in hills or walking at a brisk pace can also increase calorie burn to 200+ calories.

But while it’s not insignificant, an extra 100-200 calories per day is unlikely to lead to weight loss on its own. Reducing daily caloric intake or increasing steps would be required.

How Much Walking is Needed Per Day to Lose Weight?

Most research suggests that getting at least 7,000-9,000 steps per day is needed to see weight loss without making any dietary changes:

  • A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that overweight women who walked 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day for 6 months lost an average of 10 pounds without dieting.
  • Another study in Japan showed that participants who walked 8,000 – 11,000 steps per day for a year lowered their BMI and body fat percentage compared to those walking 5,000 steps or less daily.
  • A 2011 meta analysis of studies related to walking and weight loss suggested that 11,000 – 12,000 steps per day led to the most significant weight loss over time.

For most people, getting in 10,000-12,000 steps daily appears most effective for weight loss, provided caloric intake remains around the recommended daily amounts. At this activity level, you can burn around 400-500 extra calories through walking alone. When combined with a modest calorie deficit from diet, this often translates to 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.

How to Increase Your Steps to Aid Weight Loss

Here are some tips for building up to 7,000-10,000+ steps per day to boost calorie burn and aid weight loss:

  • Use a fitness tracker to monitor your daily steps and aim to increase by 500 steps per day until you reach your target.
  • Park farther away and walk to your destination rather than driving directly to the door.
  • Take walking breaks every 1-2 hours if you have a desk job.
  • Do household chores like vacuuming, washing floors, and gardening which keep you moving.
  • Walk or march in place while watching TV versus sitting.
  • Schedule walking meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  • Take an after-dinner stroll with family to aid digestion.
  • Wake up 30 minutes early to get in extra morning steps.
  • Pace while on the phone or standing in line.
  • Walk on an incline treadmill at 3 mph to add walking intensity.

Making small adjustments to increase daily movement can help you gradually work up to 7,000 steps or more per day for weight loss.

Other Benefits of 5,000+ Steps Per Day

While 5,000 steps may not lead to weight loss for most people, keeping up this daily activity level can provide other benefits:

  • Reduced risk of obesity – More steps than sedentary behavior can help prevent weight gain over time.
  • Improved mood – Walking releases feel-good endorphins that boost mood.
  • Lower blood pressure – Regular walking helps reduce hypertension.
  • Reduced joint pain – The movement lubricates joints to prevent aches and pains.
  • Increased energy – The mild activity can help combat fatigue.

So aiming for 5,000 steps daily can still be worthwhile. But most people will need 7,000-10,000 steps daily for ongoing weight loss.

Should You Get a Fitness Tracker to Count Steps?

Using a fitness tracker that counts your daily steps and distance walked can be very helpful if you are trying to increase your activity for weight loss. Benefits of fitness trackers include:

  • They provide accurate step counts throughout the day.
  • Many trackers break down step goals by hourly movement to keep you motivated.
  • Seeing real-time progress and graphs over time provides accountability.
  • Most connect to apps to track additional metrics like calories burned.
  • Smart watch trackers add convenience by having step counts visible on your wrist.

While not required, having a fitness tracker to monitor your walking can keep you motivated to reach new step goals. Popular options include Fitbits, Apple Watch, Garmin devices, and apps like Google Fit. Consider your budget and the features you want to decide which option fits your needs.

How Walking Compares to Other Exercise for Weight Loss

Walking is an accessible exercise for losing weight, but how does it compare to more vigorous exercise? Research on exercise for weight loss provides some key insights:

  • Vigorous exercise like jogging burns more calories per hour. But longer, moderate exercise like walking for over an hour also provides calorie-burning benefits.
  • Exercise intensity matters, but total energy expenditure over time appears most important for weight loss.
  • Running may burn 840-980 calories per hour versus just 315-400 calories walking. But it is harder to sustain running for prolonged periods.
  • Walking briskly for over an hour five days a week can produce weight loss comparable to more intense exercise regimens.
  • For weight loss, more exercise is better up to a point. Exercising more than 300 minutes per week provides diminishing returns.

So while vigorous exercise can boost calorie burn during workouts, moderate-intensity walking for longer daily durations may actually lead to similar weight loss results in the long-term by being more sustainable.

Best Walking Practices for Weight Loss

To maximize calorie burn and weight loss while walking, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use terrain to your advantage – Hills and inclines burn more calories by increasing intensity.
  • Pump your arms as you walk to burn extra calories.
  • Maintain proper walking posture and engage your core for maximum calorie burn.
  • Add short bursts of brisk walking or jogging to increase intensity.
  • Listen to upbeat music when walking to boost energy and pace.
  • Schedule walks for just after meals when your body can burn more fat.
  • Hydrate well and wear proper shoes to avoid injury and fatigue.
  • Walk daily to take full advantage of walking’s weight loss benefits.

Focusing on duration, consistency, and intensity in your walking regimen can help boost calorie burn. But any additional daily steps will benefit your weight loss journey.

Sample Walking Routine for Weight Loss

Here is a sample two week walking routine that can kickstart your weight loss:

Week 1

Monday Walk 3 miles at moderate pace (burn 300 calories)
Tuesday Walk 2 miles with hills mixed in (burn 250 calories)
Wednesday Walk 3.5 miles at brisk pace (burn 375 calories)
Thursday Walk 2.5 miles on a treadmill incline (burn 300 calories)
Friday Walk 3 miles on a scenic trail (burn 300 calories)
Saturday Rest day
Sunday Walk 4 miles at mixed moderate and brisk pace (burn 400 calories)

Week 2

Monday Walk 4 miles on hilly trails (burn 400 calories)
Tuesday Walk 3.5 miles on treadmill incline (burn 350 calories)
Wednesday Walk 3 miles at brisk pace with arm pumps (burn 300 calories)
Thursday Walk 5 miles moderately with short jog intervals (burn 500 calories)
Friday Walk 4 miles on hilly trails (burn 400 calories)
Saturday Rest day
Sunday Walk 6 miles at mixed moderate and brisk pace (burn 600 calories)

This creates a calorie deficit of 500-700 calories daily through walking alone to jumpstart weight loss, without any dietary changes needed. Feel free to repeat or add miles and intensity each week as desired.

Weight Loss Tips to Pair with a Walking Routine

To maximize weight loss results, combine your new walking regimen with these diet and lifestyle tips:

  • Reduce daily caloric intake by 200-300 calories through portion control.
  • Choose whole, unprocessed foods over empty calorie items.
  • Drink water before meals to reduce appetite.
  • Eat more fiber and lean protein to feel fuller for less calories.
  • Limit added sugars, fried foods, and unhealthy fats.
  • Eat your last meal 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Prioritize quality sleep to balance appetite hormones.
  • Manage stress levels through yoga, meditation, etc.

Small diet and lifestyle changes combined with increased walking can lead to significant, sustainable weight loss for most people.


While the most commonly recommended target is 10,000 steps per day, maintaining 5,000 daily steps can provide some benefits including burning extra calories. However, most people will need to walk at least 7,000-9,000 steps daily to see measurable weight loss from walking alone.

Pairing increased daily walking with a modest calorie deficit from diet modifications makes weight loss achievable without intense exercise. Start monitoring your steps with a fitness tracker, build cardiovascular endurance over time, and stick with the routine for optimal weight loss success. Getting in extra movement through activities like walking remains one of the most surefire ways to boost calorie burn.

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