Will 10,000 steps a day help to lose weight?

The rise in wearable devices has really popularised the notion that all you need to do to get and stay fit is to ensure that you walk for at least 10,000 steps a day. Is this really the case or is this just hype to sell pedometers ?


Our body’s have evolved to be mobile and burn calories by moving. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out that, the more you move the more calories you’ll burn.

10,000 seems to be a conveniently round number, but in reality it is just a rough estimate the exact number in not exactly known, it could be anywhere between 7 000 or even up 15 000 but there is substantial research based evidence that proves walking everyday is generally good for mind, body and soul.

I started by journey back to fitness, viewing this notion with scepticism and genuinely believed it was marketing hype to persuade customers to buy a digital nag device.

I decided put that to one side and bought a Fitbit Charge to find out the truth.

How my journey started

To be honest, I Initially didn’t start with 10 000 steps straight away.  I really struggled to get my step count much past 5 000.  It made me realise just how sedentary I had become during my average work day.

I think this was further compounded by a lifestyle choice I made several years ago, to engineer my life so that I could work from home 100% of the time.

Over the years this has had very many advantages but it does have its disadvantages.  Probably the biggest one, is that I don’t really have clear start and end points of my day.   I do have a tendency to get so absorbed in what I’m doing, that I just don’t notice time. Often I found myself only venturing out the house on the weekends with the family. The rest of the time I’m pretty much glued to the chair in my office.

In many ways, buying a Fitbit Charge was probably one of the greatest investments I’ve ever made. Providing me with the motivation to start moving more. I found myself  starting look for ways to introduce some walking into my daily routine. I would go for a walk first thing in the morning before starting work, initially this was just a quick saunter around the block or walking the kids to school. These walks over the next few weeks gradually became longer and longer as I started to realise the benefits, not really from a physical fitness perspective, but rather as a mental therapy.

I found myself walking the kids to school then on the way taking a longer route back home. I wasn’t long thereafter that I found I was hitting the default setting of 10 000 steps fairly regularly.  Initially this was on average may 2-4 times a 7 day week.

The more walking I did, the more I wanted to. I started to use walking as a little disconnect time from the laptop. Taken time to listen to some Podcasts or an Audio book or even just time for reflection and deep thinking. I made a point of never engaging in telephone calls during my walk time. Walk time became much needed personal time.

I can’t really say if I actually lost weight during this period of time, but I can honestly say I did started to feel mentally energized and healthier.

When I first started using the Fitbit Charge, I never used the accompanying web portal, I just wore the device and checked my step count using the device. It was only after a few months later, I bothered taking a look at the web portal and exploring the functionality a little further. I found I could start tracking what I was eating and fluid intake. I could also measure this against my daily calorie burn. I also downloaded the accompanying mobile application which then started the gradual addiction.

I started making more time in my day, for not only walking but I started running and cycling. I also started venturing into the gym again. It had also suddenly become mentally essential to feel the buzz on my wrist as I hit the 10,000 step count. I found my step count had increased to 15K+ per day.

Friends started asking if I had lost weight and my jeans were starting to feel looser around the waste. I was also starting to make healthier eating choices. Not really a diet as such, but just starting to think a little more about my food options.

It’s now been 8 months since my Fitbit charge purchase and I have found my lifestyle has changed considerably. I now make a conscience effort to exercise every day. If I was enjoying my life and lifestyle choice before then I am loving it now. I now know that I have lost over nearly 10 Kilograms in body weight. Starting out at 120Kg and coming down to 110kg. All down to just walking a little extra everyday.

Yes I am starting to exercise considerably more now, and not really making huge changes, just finding ways to fit in some walking into my life.

Gary Woodfine

Founder and CEO of Three Nine Consulting, a father of 3 and a geek. Highly experienced in establishing and running profitable small businesses. Strong abilities in creating businesses with minimal funds in industries as diverse as construction to software development. Experienced in learning, adapting and prospering with any business.