“I see more and more people talking about step counts and walking more, I already exercise, do I really need to care about walking more?”
Lots of layers to this one!
It illustrates a pie chart of our total daily expenditure (100%) or in a normal day, where our calorie burn comes from.Check out the exercise slice. 10% of our total day’s burned calories come from exercise. Compare that to the NEAT category, which is responsible for 25% of our daily calorie burn.
NEAT = Non-Exercise Thermogenesis Activity. Fancy term for all the movement we do in a day that is NOT exercise. Think along the lines of cleaning the house, washing the car, folding laundry, chasing babies, chasing puppies, walking, it’s all the movement we do in a day, just living our daily lives and completing all of our needed tasks.
Walking tends to be the area of NEAT that we can be most methodical with. To track steps, one only needs a cheap pedometer, less than $15 from Target, Walmart, or Amazon. Most smartphones have native step trackers built in as well. Then there’s things like fitness watches (Garmin, Fitbit, etc) or Apple Watch. Many many ways to keep track of our steps each day, and we can spend very little or as much as we want on these gadgets.
The thing to think on when looking at exercise vs steps, is that we want to work hard as we can toward NOT pitting them against each other or choosing one over the other. If possible, it’s ideal to get max benefit from both of those slices of the overall calorie burn pie. While a big run or ride or swim is awesome, what many will find is that the more massive the exercise effort, the smaller their NEAT (ie steps) will be the rest of the day, due to fatigue.
So ideally, keep your exercise routine as is (ideally something you enjoy, will keep up with, and keep going back for), and use steps as your ‘lever’ slowly making a marked effort over time to getting your daily step average to your daily step goal.
I am convinced that walking is the most underrated tool in fat loss and many that have committed to walking more and more and more over time now share that opinion.
I realize this is a very complex subject so any questions, please post below!!
We would love to help you understand so you can unlock the power of what more movement outside of exercise can help you achieve!