Martin Lewis on the 10,000 step challenge that helped him walk back to health

Martin Lewis seldom does face-to-face meetings — and he barely sits down

Martin Lewis seldom does face-to-face meetings — and he barely sits down

For most of us, the word 'meeting' means sitting round a table, perhaps with biscuits and a mug of coffee, as we discuss the business of the day with colleagues.

Not so for Martin Lewis, the personal finance pundit and founder of moneysavingexpert.com.

Lewis, to whom the nation's consumers turn for advice on money matters from insurance and shopping to loans and phones, used to spend his days like many of us: hunched over a computer at his desk, sitting in meetings, or in a car or taxi travelling between work engagements.

Not any more. Now, he seldom does face-to-face meetings — and he barely sits down.

Most work conversations take place while he is on the move, even when he's with family and friends.

Everyone who wants to talk to him must do so while Martin is walking.

His PA schedules all his phone calls and interviews for when he is walking across London, as he does every day, travelling from home to work to TV studios — he is a regular on ITV's Good Morning Britain — or to Parliament, where ministers also seek his advice on financial matters.

And if he has nowhere to get to, he will pace around the room as he talks on the phone, or while he is thinking. Every step he takes is logged by the fitness tracker on his wrist — he takes it off only to recharge it or to have a bath.

When he hits 10,000 steps, the tracker buzzes. But nowadays this is the bare minimum — most days he manages more than double that.

On an average day, Lewis walks 24,258 steps, or about 12 miles — just under a half marathon. That adds up to nearly 170,000 steps, or about 84 miles, a week.

For the past three years he has not let a day go by without trying to achieve his 10,000 steps. Not even when he got food poisoning.

Recently, he had to have a minor operation. It was scheduled for midday, so he did his steps first.

If he flies long-haul, he does his steps before and after.

The last time he missed his 10,000 quota was when he tore a hamstring, forcing him to take three days off. By day four he was back on his feet.

It is, he admits, 'an obsession, but a healthy obsession. It has done me a lot of good'.

It started in 2015 when his wife Lara, a technology journalist, gave him a fitness tracker as a present. He started wearing it, confident he must already be achieving 10,000 steps a day.

The stats don’t lie: Martin has religiously recorded his steps every day since 2015

The stats don't lie: Martin has religiously recorded his steps every day since 2015

But, like most of us, he was deluding himself: 'I found I was only doing between 4,000 and 7,000 steps.' He became determined to hit the 10,000 mark.

Critics say there is no scientific basis for the 10,000-step goal. But, says Lewis: 'It is not nonsense. It's a nice round number and I'm driven by numbers.'

So he began restructuring his life around walking, applying the same zeal and dedication that he brings to money management.

Instead of making a 30-minute bus or taxi journey across London to and from work, he walked. 'Proper walking, not strolling: arms swinging, legs striding,' he says. 'It took me 50 minutes, so it only cost me 20 minutes [in time saved by commuting by bus or cab].'

Whenever his tracker buzzed to signal 10,000 steps, he felt elated. So he began walking more, always aiming for a round number: 'If I was on 19,500, I'd get to 20,000.'

It took a toll: he developed plantar fasciitis, a painful condition affecting the soles of the feet, so he swapped his city shoes for trainers and now has three pairs that he rotates, on a podiatrist's advice.

He knows that, as his own boss, he is lucky that he can organise his day to incorporate more walking and insist on phone meetings. By the end of a 30-minute phone call he will have done 3,600 steps.

But even those stuck in a workplace all day can often change their normal commute to a walk. 'A 30-minute walk twice a day, plus a bit of pottering, and you'll hit 10,000

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