When it comes to weight loss, you’ll likely clock another gym session before you consider your step count, but our 14- day plan could help you burn 500 more calories every day.
Walking used to be such a routine part of our daily living – a quick stroll to the shops, a walk at lunchtime, meandering around the office – but since the start of the pandemic, the British step count has fallen dismally low. Indeed, research from Fitbit, done during the height of the first lockdown in March 2020, shows that there was a nine per cent decline in step count among its users. What’s more, there was a marked downfall in activity among 29 per cent of the general population.
How to burn 500 calories everyday : 14 Days Plan Photo Gallery
‘Lockdown life and working from home has resulted, largely, in plummeting step counts,’ agrees Nicki Petitt, online fitness coach (@nickipetitt). ‘Our daily commute to and from work has gone, no longer do we walk around the office talking to colleagues, totting up steps we didn’t even realise we were taking. Being confined to our homes has meant only a few steps here and there.’
While positive new exercise habits were formed in 2020, from biking to hiking to building muscle at home, the incidental steps we take every day still matter most. Physically, keeping mobile will help with weight loss and sleep quality, not to mention reduce the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. And mentally, daily activity could matter even more. ‘It’s a great form of exercise that anyone can do, anywhere!’ raves Rhiane Fatinikun, Vivobarefoot ambassador (vivobarefoot.com) and founder of Black Girls Hike (@bgh_uk). ‘From walking, the brain reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases happy hormones, decreasing depression – studies have even shown that being in nature for just two hours a week is associated with good wellbeing.’
THE FIT FORMULA
Not fussed because you always fit in a gym session?
Unfortunately, a scheduled workout isn’t enough to counteract the hours spent sitting in your home office, car, or on the couch. Indeed, data from the British Heart Foundation shows that British office workers spend 75 percent of their waking hours sat down – proof that “incidental activities” such as walking to the shops need to be reintroduced as “intentional activities” to increase our daily movement. ‘Movement must now be scheduled on the “to do” list,’ agrees Petitt. ‘Whether it’s planned “walk and talks” or daily home workouts, we’ve all had to get used to a new way of living to keep our bodies and minds active.’
One such way is to do this by consciously increasing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis – the calories you burn simply living your life). Countless exercise experts testify to the positive impact that the frequency of NEAT has on fitness levels: ‘Standing, walking, taking the stairs, this all forms part of NEAT,’ explains Petitt. ‘The average person will take around 2000 steps per mile and cover three to four miles per hour, so with a bit of planning it’s simple to add more of these informal movements to your normal daily routine.’
THE RIGHT MEASURE
While strolling around the streets may not seem to offer the fitness benefits of heavy lifting or running, cumulatively, these daily activities add up: NEAT can boost fat-burning power by an extra 1500 to 2400 calories per day. As NEAT increases blood flow around the body, it may also have positive effects on your metabolism. But how can you increase your daily activity in the post-pandemic era? A good place to start is with your daily step count. Most forms of NEAT – walking the dog or playing with the kids – will contribute to the overall number of steps you take each day.
‘We’ve evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, walking around six miles a day,’ explains Fatinikun. ‘This roughly works out to 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day.’ In fact, 10,000 steps is the coveted number for good health, but the average Brit’s daily step count sits well below what’s recommended at a mere 5,836 steps per day – half the amount required for optimum fitness. ‘There are so many reasons for this,’ adds Fatinikun. ‘There are the things that affect us – workload, family life.’ But here’s a reason to step it up – clock 10,000 steps a day and you could burn an extra 3500 calories per week. Follow our two-week plan (over the page) to go from 5,000 to 10,000 daily steps in a fortnight.
Clock 10,000 daily steps in 2 weeks!
Founder of Black Girls Hike, Rhiane Fatinikun’s plan will increase your daily step count and fire up your fat burners.
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