Three Things I’ve Learned From Walking 10,000 Steps Everyday
Hey, remember a few months ago when I wrote about walking 10,000 steps everyday for 100 consecutive days? Well, guess what? I’ve kept at it an now have passed 183 days! (Actually I’m at day 225, I had internet problems and couldn’t update my blog for awhile.) But day 183 was the big day I was waiting for. Why? Because that’s half a year.
So I have now walked 10,000 steps everyday for more than half a year! Everyday getting up and going out. Every day, walking for about 2 hours even if I don’t feel like it. Everyday of sometimes walking back and forth in my friends living room just waiting for that buzz from the bracelet to signal I have hit my daily goal (I’ve done that 3 times now).
And in that six-months I’ve learned a few things:
The steps are a small thing that lead to big changes
This step goal was a goal all unto itself. I didn’t have weight loss goals or fitness goals. I just told myself 10,000 steps everyday (the recommended number for staying healthy), and that was it. But I noticed a mind shift and it has ended up changing a lot of things.
Such as? To get to 10,000 I had to shift some of my daily patterns. I’ve gotten off the bus a few stops early, and walked the rest of the way, taken the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing to go to a store a little further away just for the steps.
I quickly realized that one big powerhouse session to try to get 10,000 steps wasn’t helpful. A few times I was lazy all day, hiding in my house, figuring I could just get my steps in one evening walk. Yet every time I did that, the walk was exhausting, took hours, and was always less steps then I had anticipated. I would end up walking for hours around my neighborhood and not even reach my goal.
But, If I just did a few little things during the day to increase my steps, then I found I could easily accomplish my goals during my normal activity. And then I noticed that even when I had already reached the daily goal, I still continued with the extra activity (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator).
It gets you out of the house
I also said yes to a lot of activities I might have skipped because I knew I needed the steps. Luckily I live in an active city, with active friends, and there are often hikes, or Hash House Harrier walks so I have lots of opportunities. But my weeks are busy and by the time the weekend rolls around I’m tired and just wanna stay home. Knowing that I had to go out and get my steps anyway motivated me to participate in more hikes and activities in my city, leading me to be more social.
I’m a natural introvert and live in a subtropical place. Sometimes I just want to hide in my house, with the a/c on avoiding everyone and everything. But knowing that I have to get dressed and go out no matter what has made me more active socially.
Annoying Things are Less Annoying
This semester I started teaching in a new classroom which is 25 minutes away from my apartment. My last classroom was 5 minutes away. I use to be able to wake up late and basically roll out of bed and into the classroom. If I forgot something it was no biggie as I could just run back home during the break. But not with the new classroom. I have to wake up earlier, prepare and leave on time if I am to make it before the bell rings. And it’s hot here, remember? After a 25 minute walk I arrive dripping in sweat and cranky. Not pretty.
My friend offered me a bike to use (It would be a 10 minute bike ride) but I declined. Because that 25 minute walk counts towards my steps. Walking to and from the classroom, and adding a walk to a restaurant for lunch and I have reached my goal by noon. So I’m actually grateful for the distance.
It’s changed my mind on other things. The nearest bus stop seems light years away from me, but I know it adds to my steps and I stopped caring about the distance. And walking the four flights to my apartment is a tiring chore, especially late at night when I’m worn out. But it’s steps and I know they add up, so I’m okay with it now. It’s not like I skip up four flights whistling dixie, but I don’t curse every step like I used to.
Although Some Things are More Annoying
Walking 10,000 steps a day isn’t all convenience. It requires planning, it requires thinking about it everyday, and sometimes I have had to change my plans just to get it. When I was traveling recently, I know that travel days were a real problem. If I took a long flight or train ride during the day it would be impossible to get my steps (I walked in circles around a train station once just to get more steps. With my luggage. It wasn’t fun.) So now I schedule planes and trains later in the day so I have the morning to get my steps in.
I’ve also had to leave my friends and fun hangouts at 10pm just because I still have a few thousand steps to go. And worst of all it means that for half a year I haven’t had one lazy day where I stay home all day in my pj’s. Sometimes you wanna stay home in your pj’s! And when I was sick, the last thing I wanted to do was go out. The only way I could convince myself to leave was to go to Walmart to do shopping. Several times I walked up and down every aisle in Walmart just to get enough steps.
At this point, I’m not quite sure when I’m gonna stop it. Should I go a full year? I guess at some point I’ll be forced to miss my goal like, if I break my leg, or have an unavoidable 16 hour plane ride (or, if I lose my bracelet).
I’m naturally lazy and having this small accountability, and goal, really does change my mentality and pushes me to get dressed and go out. I’m not getting super fit, nor losing a ton of weight because of this goal, but it insures that I get up and go everyday, and to me that’s worth it.