For years now, 10,000 steps a day has become the gold standard for people trying to improve their health — and recent research shows some benefits can come from even just 7,500 steps.
For years now, 10,000 steps a day has become the gold standard for people trying to improve their health — and recent research shows some benefits can come from even just 7,500 steps. But if you’re trying to prevent weight gain, a new Brigham Young University study suggests no number of steps alone will do the trick.
Researchers from BYU’s Exercise Science Department, along with colleagues from the Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science Department, studied 120 freshmen over their first six months of college as they participated in a step-counting experiment. Participants walked either 10,000, 12,500 or 15,000 steps a day, six days a week for 24 weeks, while researchers tracked their caloric intake and weight.
The goal of the study was to evaluate if progressively exceeding the recommended step count of 10,000 steps per day (in 25% increments) would minimize weight and fat gain in college freshmen students. In the end, it didn’t matter if the students walked more than even 15,000 steps; they still gained weight. Students in the study gained on average about 1.5 kg (roughly 3.5 lbs.) over the study period; a 1 to 4 kg average weight gain is commonly observed during the first academic year of college, according to previous studies.
“Exercise alone is not always the most effective way to lose weight,” said lead author Bruce Bailey, professor of exercise science at BYU. “If you track steps, it might have a benefit in increasing physical activity, but our study showed it won’t translate into maintaining weight or preventing weight gain.”
Read more at Brigham Young University
Image: Image of a step-counting watch on a person's wrist. (Credit: BYU Photo)