Is your life busy and feels like you are always on a run? Mine certainly is. And when it comes to finding the time to do something for my body, there is never any. I can’t remember where, but I have read, that it is advisable that we do 10k steps a day. Apparently, doing so is supposed to help avoid some cardiovascular diseases and even some cancers.
Why 10k steps?
Apparently the concept originates from Japan, where a little device, called manpo-kei (simply: 10k steps meter) had been brought to the market back in 1960. The timing wasn’t accidental, but rather well thought out. The Japanese company had used the fact that the whole nation was buzzing with sporty spirit, and launched the device just before Tokyo Olympic Games of 1964. It had worked well and the campaign had been a massive success. The 10k steps had since been the figure we all should aim for!
Now the reality!
When I first got my Fitbit, in Feb 2017, I was quite surprised to find, that the average number of steps I was making was around 2k a day. Barely a 5th of the recommended amount. That was the score for most of the weekdays … getting to work – by car, walking from car to the office, quick grocery shopping on a way back, parking as close to the entrance as possible – who wants to walk after a long day in the office?
In a meantime, a few steps around the office and around the house… that is it. 2k steps. I don’t do gym, swim or any regular activity as there is never enough time. Or is there?
New Year Resolutions …
Earlier this year Dom & I decided to try and change it a bit … and make time to do some extra exercises. At the end of the day, it is for our own benefit. End of last year, I started to suffer from back and neck pains. And I had been advised to simply become more active …
January and February passed with more excuses than days where we would actually follow our plans of becoming fitter. But then I saw an advert on FB… Cancer Research UK was promoting joining them in a challenge – 10k steps a day throughout March.
Challenge? Well – that is the best if not the only way to get either of us fully committed… we had done one of those last year, with a couple of friends. Meal at Fazendas, a brilliant Brazilian Grill Restaurant, was at stake.
Person who hadn’t reached their target was to pay for the meal (it comes to almost £30.00 pre-drinks) for the other one. But if both reached their targets, then the one with less steps was paying for drinks. We all made sure we met the required amounts. So ended up paying for our own meals. But that wasn’t important. The important bit was that it got all of us out of the house, and walking.
Bring the 10k steps a day on!
But let’s come back to this year’s challenge. There was nothing on stake this time… well, when I say nothing – of course our fitness level and health benefits, so quite a lot! And so it begun …
I worked out that it takes me approx.. 10 mins to do 1000 steps. That’s 1h 40 minutes of walking a day. With min 2h behind the wheel and 8h at work, well 1:40 for walking that is a lot.
Dominik walks a lot at work, so it is a rare occurrence that he doesn’t bring the 10k back from work. However, he took his challenge to the next level and decided to do some decent amounts of tredmill walking at a good pace, to up his game. He would have played some videogames whilst walking, which, you must agree, is so much more productive that playing from the couch. It took some adjusting, and he feel of a few times but he mastered it in the end. I was proud of him! That was a great win win!
Planning (and sacrifice) is the king
As I leave the house around 8 AM and usually aren’t back home till 7-8PM, for me the biggest challenge was to find the time to get the steps in. Especially on days, when I was working 2-3h away from home, as that meant leaving super early and coming home rather late… so a lot of planning and effort went in getting the steps in.
On some days I would get up 5.30-6.00 AM, to get an hour on treadmill, before going to work. Then at work, I had started parking at furthest spot of the car park, I would pace the length of the office, when on the phone, and would pop out for a quick walk at lunch time. All to get some valuable steps in. And to come back home with as high result as possible, as that meant less time needed on the treadmill (although I did enjoy treadmill – I managed to watch quite a few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, which was on my agenda for few years now! So again – win win).
Supermarket tour anyone?
If the weather was poor, and we both had some steps to do, Dom & I would go to supermarket and literally walk between EVERY single aisle … baby stuff, pet stuff, freezers and bakery, chemicals and toys, you name it … we did wonder, if anyone ever noticed and thought we were a bit off the grid!
And for the easier part – weekend is when we rule!
Weekends were easier, most of the time, as we would have gone somewhere together. Had a long walk. Time to relax. Chat about the week behind us. And get more of these steps in.
One weekend, we were away – we went to Kolosy in Gdynia (Poland) a Festival dedicated to travellers, alpinists and sailors. It is 3 days filled with inspiring stories of people, often common people, who had a dream and made it come true. I do recommend to anyone (but you would need to speak Polish!) to go if you are into travelling and in need of a strong doze of inspiration! But anyway, there was a downside to being sat in the sit, getting all inspired by those amazing people, who were proving time after time again, that impossible is nothing – there was very little opportunity to do the steps! We would have walked around the venue during breaks, but that wasn’t enough.
We were staying with newly met friends – also bloggers, Sylwia & Grzes, who are blogging about travelling with their young son Igor. I had pre-warned them before our arrival of our 10 k step a day challenge – they had been extremely supportive all the way. To the point that on the second evening, we all walked back from the venue back to their home, in rain, to ensure Dom & I could tick the day off as completed!
CRISIS – CAN’T DO NO MORE
We both had failed … just couldn’t achieve it … but we both failed one, and only one, day each! One day, where we just couldn’t complete the 10k steps. I had come back from work after spending 6h in the car and 9 at work, full of cold. It was late, and I had thought to myself – this is a challenge. My challenge. If someone’s life depended on it, I would have pushed through, but on this occasion it was OK to let go.
So I did … and yes, I was gutted to lose this one day in the whole month, but overall the outcome was brilliant. And I felt rather proud of both of us. For sticking with it, even when it was tough. When there was little time, when the weather was depressingly miserable, when we with others, who did not need to do the steps, and when we could have just be sat on the couch – starring at screens of our laptops, phones and with TV in the background. But we didn’t. We chose wiser … or did we?
Twist to the story! Is the 10k steps a day challenge really beneficial?
It made me make time to do some walking. Even jogging on few occasions (I know – that is so amazing! Not really? …). My lower back pains had ease off – I am sure that was a combination of series of massages, some stretching in the morning and walking. I felt better, less tired during the day, slept well during the night.
I just read, that it might not necessarily be so important to do the 10 k steps a day … and the same, if not more, benefits can be gained when we walk more briskly. And so the new recommendation is: 3 x 10 min a day of a brisk walk. Equally, if not more beneficial than the 10k of stroll! Whether it is true or not, and whether next month we will be told, that walking backwards, or on our eyelashes works best, I don’t mind 😉
Fitting 1h 40 mins into my busy schedule is difficult, so I will stick with the 3 short but brisk walks for now. Because I am positive on one note – it did make a difference to me. Enough to get me thinking of a next challenge … an Ultra Challenge!