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10,000 Steps A Day

If you can't run, walk. It's good for you.

Years ago, I used to run every day for exercise and ran in 5K and 10K runs for the fun of it. I also played tennis and skied. Then my knees began giving me problems and I took up walking.

There have been many articles on setting a daily walking goal of 10,000 steps. Some are of the opinion 10K steps is a worthy goal and others, the opposite.

There are many types of walking with varying degrees of benefits:

  1. Ambling. This is kind of hands in your pockets walking; pondering on some matter or just taking in the scenery.

  2. Strolling. Usually done with a friend or group of friends with conversation and friendly banter. It can include stopping for a coffee or a park bench.

  3. Walking steadily. This is usually done with a destination in mind, such as walk to a distant mall or store and back.

  4. Walking briskly. We are now getting into the; "its good for you stage". Here, you are generally walking alone or with a friend and the goal is exercise and for a set period of time.

  5. Power walking. Generally done alone and with the goal to get some real exercise for a set period of time or achieving a set number of steps.

  6. Race walking. Generally carried out under the auspices of a club and designed for the real keeners.

  7. Marathon walking. This can be done over the length of a day or days and is meant for those amongst us who are very fit and who love a challenge.

  8. Hiking. This generally involves uphill and down dale, through trails and backcountry and is not for the beginning walker. Can be tough on older knees.

  9. Nordic walking. Nordic walking was originally a summer training regime for cross-country skiers. It is based on using walking poles in a way that harnesses the power of the upper body to propel you forward as you walk.

My daily goal is 10,000 steps or around 7.5 km. I downloaded an app to my smartphone to monitor my daily walking. Now, whenever I go for my daily power walk or I am walking steadily with a destination in mind, I slip my phone into my pocket. I find I average around 12,000 steps a day which is the equivalent of around 9.5 km. If I am walking by myself, I invariably powerwalk which provides me with some cardio benefit as well.

I have found having the step counter app has caused me to be more diligent in my walking and I now use it as challenge I have to face each day to complete my daily 10,000 steps. The app has become something of a taskmaster, not in an onerous way but similar to having a coach that keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Like any good habit, walking every day, rain or shine is a difficult one to get into. Since using the step app, however, I have found my daily walking habit is becoming something of a fix and is becoming more and more difficult to break.

The benefits I have found with my step regime are keeping my weight down, keeping my blood pressure down, passing my annual physical with flying colors and generally feeling good about myself, particularly on the odd occasion I bust through the 20,000 km mark. I try and achieve this secondary goal a few times a month.

I have also found a good pair of walking shoes is a must. Cheaper ones do not do the job so splash out and get good ones.

Happy walking!

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