When 10,000 Steps Is TOO Much …
Here’s What To Do
Don’t Let The Intimidating Target Of 10,000 Steps Stop You In Your Tracks!
My history with walking has been all over the place.
From my three months in Mexico where I lost over 50 pounds without even realizing it, to walking in Vancouver where on some days I’d walk over 60 city blocks (3–4 miles) pulling a cart filled with groceries.
How I lost 50+ pounds without even knowing it.
I was totally gobsmacked when my pants fell off!
The worst part of my walking journey was when it came to an abrupt halt after my move to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada … a city in the northern part of the province where winter temperatures drop to -23 Celsius (-10 Fahrenheit) and in the summer soar to a high of 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit).
I moved from one of the most walker friendly cities in the world, to a frozen version of hell. I moved in the middle of December to the suburbs — which to me is my second definition of hell.
The first week I was there … it dumped two to three inches of snow every day. So I shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. NO walking.
From walking miles every day to NOTHING. For almost a year. Yep, I simply stopped, became house bound and plunged into a deep deep well of depression. Moving to Edmonton to help my 88 year old mother was the worst decision I ever made in my entire life.
It took a year to come out of the fog. I decided I HAD to start walking again.
So I went out and got myself a tracking watch and spent hour after hour on sites that promoted, encouraged, insisted on 10,000 steps a day.
OH the glory of hitting that target and beyond every day. The dream was there, firmly implanted in my brain.
The reality did NOT match the dream.
I didn’t have to do anything to calibrate my watch. It was perfect from the minute I put it on. I guess I fit into the auto setting profile.
I measured a typical day of steps … the days I had been living for the past year.
Let’s see. Get up. Go to kitchen and turn on the coffee maker. Go to the bathroom. Go back to my bedroom and get dressed. Go back to the kitchen and get a cup of brewed coffee.
Guess how many steps?
Did you guess 67?
Yep 67 record making steps.
The rest of the day. Go to my office. Back to the kitchen for more coffee. Back to my office. Bathroom breaks. That was a typical day, mostly in front of my computer. Helping Mom out when she needed help.
500 steps IF I was lucky.
Yeah, there were days that were more energetic. Grocery shopping. Cooking spree days. Doctor and hospital visits with Mom. 1000–1500 steps maybe.
So here I am with my brand new watch that needs a workout. My goal? 10,000 steps of course. That’s what “everyone” says you should do.
I am gung-ho! Here I go.
2000 steps is all I can do. I am puffed out. My back is killing me. Gotta stop.
Next day? Back to 1000.
I am demoralized and disappointed. What the heck is wrong with me? I used to do this all the time.
I was about to plunge back into the black hole of depression when I walked to a small middle-eastern grocery store about two blocks from the house. I love this place and could spend an hour looking around. The store is so small that if someone carries on a conversation you can hear every word.
Serendipity! Two women at the cash register are talking about their Fitbits. One of them is raving about it and the difference it had made in her life. I join the line-up and invite myself into the conversation by showing off my new watch.
I ask. “How many steps a day do you do?” One of the ladies, looks very sheepish says, “I only do about 5000, I don’t have time for 10,000 steps with my 3 kids.” The other snorts, “I’m happy to get to 3000 a day. But that’s way more than I used to do.”
They both look at me. I smiled and lied … “ I just got the watch the other day, I have no idea!”
I walked home with my bag of goodies adding another 795 steps to my day. I decided that I’d set a goal of 10,000 daily steps for a year from now. For starters, 2000 steps would be a good goal. I figured I could add 100 to 200 steps a week.
The reality is you don’t have to immediately aim at 10,000 steps a day.
NOT getting there day after day is demoralizing.
What is motivating is starting with a much smaller goal, reaching it day by day and slowly building your muscles, your stamina and your determination.
Here’s how to get started.
Make it really easy! Make it achievable.
Start by tracking your steps for three days. Don’t do anything different — just track your normal day.
Once you have a base line … double or triple it. That’s your starting goal.
Add 100 to 200 steps a week for as long as it takes to get to 10,000.
How did I do?
A year later I was averaging 8000 steps on weekdays and at least one day of 10,000 steps on weekends. I engaged in a few “hiking” days topping it off at 21,000 steps (16 kilometers — 10 miles). LOL I was close to needing a stretcher to get home.
Steps per Mile or per Kilometer
An average person has a stride length of approximately 2.5 feet. Most tracking watches are automatically set for this stride length.
The average height (North America) is 5'4" for females and 5'8" for males. So I am GUESSING they use 5'6" as their average calibration. If you are shorter or taller than average be sure to get a watch that allows you to make stride length adjustments.
One Mile = approximately 2000 steps
Five Miles = approximately 10,000 steps
One Kilometer = approximately 1,250 steps
Five Kilometers = approximately 6600 steps
This article was originally published on Sugar-Free-Zone.com
Melanie Rockett has been a freelance writer for over 40 years. About 15 years ago she was diagnosed with Diabetes — and began a long journey of discovery. Today she lives a sugar-free life and has lost 120 pounds. Her website Sugar-Free-Zone.com is all about living sugar-free and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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You can ramp up the effectiveness of your walks with these simple tips: