Let’s begin by saying walking is healthy. Science has consistently shown that getting up off your duff and putting your legs in motion is a good thing. It improves cardiovascular health, among other benefits, and will even brighten your mood.
And the gold standard for walkers is the newly fabled 10,000-step day. But if you think you are going to walk yourself to weight loss using a 10,000 step regimen, a study out of Brigham Young University has news for you: guess again.
The folks at BYU followed more than 100 freshman during roughly their first six months of college. Each wore a pedometer and was asked to walk either 10-, 12- or 15,000 steps a day six days a week. Meantime, the researchers also tracked their calories eaten and weight.
Previous studies have demonstrated that students typically gain between weight during their first year in college, the so-called freshman 15. Maybe it’s all the late-night pizza they inhale.
So, scientists wondered, if these young adults progressively walked longer distances, would they reverse that trend and lose weight?
Turns out, no matter how much they walked, study participants still gained weight. Indeed, they packed on an average of about three-and-a-half pounds. Ouch.
But not all of the results were troubling. The students also decreased their sedentary time. Among those tasked with walking 15,000 steps a day, sedentary time dropped a whopping 77 minutes a day. That’s a healthy trend.
In fact, a previous Harvard study noted that people who walk up to 7,500 steps daily generally lived longer, though walking distances longer than that conferred no extra benefit.
The lesson here: Walking is good. Walking with a salad is better.