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.

 

The human body is probably the most amazing and most complex machine any of us will ever own. Despite it being the only one we’ll ever own, it is also probably the most abused, misused and neglected. Reading the river out of Eden – Dawkins explains why DNA must be thought of as the most sophisticated information system imaginable. He also discusses the mechanisms by which evolution has taken place, gradually but inexorably, over a period of three thousand million years.

The biggest take away we learn from this is that our body’s have evolved to enable us to be mobile. The very fact our bodies and brains provide us with the ability to either fight or flight is the primary reason why any of us are here.

We all have to thank the bodies of our ancestors because it enabled them to stay one step ahead of predators and avoid other dangers along the way, just long enough for them to procreate and pass the genes down the line to where we are today.

Your bodies ability to be mobile and use energy to avoid or deflect danger, comes from the food we eat.

The concept of burning off the body’s energy stores while doing absolutely nothing is kind of exciting, until you realize how little you would have to eat in order to avoid putting on extra weight.

Our modern lifestyles are completely at odds with evolution, resulting in the tendency to do everything in our power to move less and expend the minimum amount of energy. All our technological advancements seem to be primarily aimed at us moving less or in some cases even at all.

Most of us, prefer to jump into our fossil driven combustible engines to make a 5 minute trip to the shop, than simply walk 15 minutes to get there.

It’s highly likely we wouldn’t even get off the couch, preferring to order our shopping via mobile phones and get it delivered to our front door by a drone.

After, spending time reflecting on these amazing facts, and realizing my jeans, I purchased only two months prior two sizes larger than my previous pair, were starting to get a little tight around the waste.



easy quick fix

With the new found realization that I needed to move more, I drew the logical conclusion and using the internet I hurriedly purchased a pedometer and got it delivered to my front door!

Despite, the obvious false start, I was determined to start getting out and walking more. The focus being to start shedding the middle aged spread, and get back that body I nearly had in my 20’s!

I resolved to try and do 10,000 steps a day. A figure derived from a Japanese study, dated back to the 1960’s, which indicated there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2000 calories per week through exercise – which is approximately equivalent to 10,000 steps a day or 5 miles a day.

This seemed to be the quick easy fix I was looking for, reasoning that I may not have time to exercise, but surely I could fit in walking in my daily routine. If I had a device to help monitor and gauge the number of steps on a daily basis would ensure I at least achieved the minimum required.

I would be the first to admit, I was skeptical and genuinely believed it was marketing hype to persuade people to buy a digital nag device. However, it was worth a shot!

The long walk

My pedometer of choice turned out to be the Fitbit Charge 2. My buying decisions were based on that I wanted to buy a FitBit and Fitbit Charge 2. was the cheapest they offered.

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.

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 2, I never used the accompanying web portal, I just wore the device and checked my step count using the device. Only after a few months, I logged into the web portal and downloaded the app to explore the functionality a little further.

I discovered I could also track my food and fluid intake and measure this against my daily calorie burn.

I started making more time in my day, for not only walking but I started taking up 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.

Summary

In many ways, buying a Fitbit Charge 2 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 more mental therapy.

Gary Woodfine

Freelance Full Stack Developer at threenine.co.uk
Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.
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