How to Walk 2,000 More Steps a Day and Keep Weight Off

Woman tracking her steps on a cell phone app
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If you add just 2,000 more steps a day (about an extra mile of walking) to your regular activities, you may never gain another pound. Of course, part of it depends on your calorie intake, but extra steps burn extra calories.

Research by Dr. James O. Hill suggests that 2,000 steps can burn 100 calories and make a difference in your body. If you want to lose weight, he suggests starting with 2,000 more steps per day and then adding more steps.

Sedentary people in the USA generally move only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. It is a good start to add 2,000 more steps to each day. Studies have shown that moving 6,000 steps a day significantly reduces the risk of death, and walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day promotes weight loss.

Two thousand steps is equivalent to about a mile. If you walked it continuously, it would take 15 to 25 minutes. But the benefits for health and weight management don't depend on walking a mile all at one time, but simply adding in more steps throughout the day.

How to Count Your Steps

By tracking your total daily steps with a pedometer, activity monitor, or pedometer app on your mobile phone. you will see how you accumulate steps.

  1. Buy a step-counting pedometer or activity monitor, or download a pedometer app.
  2. Set your pedometer or app so it is counting accurately.
  3. Wear your pedometer throughout the day or ensure you are carrying your phone with you most of the day.
  4. See how many steps you take on an average day, then add 2,000 steps to set your daily walking goal. With apps and online dashboards, you can often set your own goal rather than just accepting the standard 10,000 steps per day.
  5. Chart your steps each day or check the daily log for your pedometer app or activity monitor.
  6. Make a game or challenge of it. If you are using a pedometer that has an associated app or online dashboard, set goals and join in any challenges they have. It is very effective to have friends with the same fitness monitor and compete with them.

Easy Ways to Add 2,000 Steps

How can you stop sitting still and get more steps throughout the day? Try these strategies to walk more and reduce the health risks of sitting still.

Sneak In Steps at Home and Work 

  • Park in the back of the parking lot and walk farther to the door.
  • Get off the bus a stop or two before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way.
  • Use the farthest entrance into your workplace from your parking spot or bus stop, and walk through the building to your work area.
  • Don't stand; pace when waiting for the bus, at an elevator, etc.
  • Circle the room when waiting for meetings to start.
  • Use the restroom, copy machine, water fountain, break room, etc. that is farther from your work area.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator, especially for one to three floors, both up and down.
  • When making a phone call, stand up and pace around as you talk.
  • Rather than phone, text, or email, walk to a coworker's office or neighbor's house and talk to them in person.
  • When people stop to talk with you, make it a moving meeting and walk around together while chatting.
  • Hide the TV remote and walk to the TV to change channels.
  • During TV commercials, get up and walk around the house.
  • When doing errands, park in a central location and walk to your store destinations.
  • Return the shopping cart all the way to the store after grocery shopping.
  • Never drive through—get out and park and walk into the bank or fast food stop instead.

Add Short Dedicated Walks

  • Do marching minutes. Every 30 minutes, get up from your chair and spend one to five minutes walking in place and stretching your arms, shoulders, and neck.
  • Before eating lunch, take a 15-minute walking break.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Look over your usual trips in the car. Are there any that you could do as walks instead, such as to the post office or library?
  • If you take your kids to sports or activities, dedicate 10 to 20 minutes to walking around after dropping them off or before you pick them up.
  • When waiting at the airport, secure your bags and take a good walk around the terminal area. Don't take the people-mover sidewalks.
  • Chart your walking and set a reward when you reach your walking goals.

Walk Together

  • Form a workplace walking group and meet to walk together during lunch or break.
  • Form a neighborhood walking group and meet to walk together in the morning, noon, or after work.
  • Make a family habit of taking a 10- to 20-minute walk after dinner or first thing in the morning.
  • Chart your walking miles on a map of a trail or highway for a family or workplace walking challenge.

Plan Weekend Walking Activities

  • Charity walks are usually 5 or 10 kilometers (3 or 6 miles) and lots of fun.
  • Visit local parks and enjoy the trails. Set a goal to visit them all in the next couple of months.
  • Take seasonal walks, such as a tour of holiday lights, flowers, gardens, nature trails, festivals, historic homes, or autumn leaves.
  • Volkssport walking events are free or inexpensive walking events and self-guided walking routes. These are hosted by local clubs and are open to everyone. They are held in locations around the world.
  • Join in a historic walking tour of your city or other nearby attraction.

Walking Step Equivalents

Walking step equivalents are available for a wide range of activities so you can take credit for all of your movement, even if it doesn't register on a pedometer.

  • 1 mile = 2,100 average steps
  • 1 block = 200 average steps
  • 10 minutes of walking = 1,200 steps on average
  • Bicycling or swimming = 150 steps for each minute
  • Weightlifting = 100 steps per minute
  • Rollerskating = 200 steps per minute

A Word From Verywell

Don't wait to start making changes to become more active. Your body was built to keep moving. By looking for ways to move more throughout the day, you will be doing what is right for health, fitness, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hill JO. Can a small-changes approach help address the obesity epidemic? A report of the Joint Task Force of the American Society for Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists, and International Food Information Council. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(2):477-484. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26566

  2. Dwyer T, Pezic A, Sun C, et al. Objectively measured daily steps and subsequent long term all-cause mortality: the Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(11): e0141274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146202