10,000 steps a day may not help you lose weight effectively

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 in a new study, researchers found if you’re trying to prevent weight gain, no number of steps alone will do the trick.

The research was conducted by a team at Brigham Young University.

The team 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.

The team found 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.

The team says exercise alone is not always the most effective way to lose weight. It won’t translate into maintaining weight or preventing weight gain.

Although weight was not affected by the increased steps, there was a positive impact on physical activity patterns, which may have other emotional and health benefits.

The biggest benefit of step recommendations is getting people out of a sedentary lifestyle. Even though it won’t prevent weight gain on its own, more steps are always better for you.

The lead author of the study is Bruce Bailey, a professor of exercise science at BYU.

The study is published in the Journal of Obesity.

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