When the world first started raving about the benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day, I honestly thought it didn’t seem like very much. I remember thinking at the time that as a nurse, I would have been doing more than that just walking up and down the long corridors of my hospital – and simply patted myself on the back for being ahead of the times.
Then iPhone’s began to track steps and I suddenly realised, I was extremely far from 10,000 steps daily (and had to rescind my undeserving pat on the back). As it turns out, unless you are a wardie, getting in 10,000 steps per day was definitely not as easy as I initially thought it to be. On a really busy day at work, I was only able to get in about 8,000, and even then, this was exercise my body was used to. Realistically, I needed to find my 10,000 steps in another place.
So I made it #57 on the bucket list to walk 10,000 steps everyday for a week. The idea was to prove to myself that a) I could achieve this, and b) I could make it a goal for every week from there on out.
I am slightly ashamed to admit that it has since taken me over four years to tick this bucket list item off, but it was much harder to do than I expected. In my defence, I’ve come close a couple of times! There was a friend’s hen’s week in Byron Bay back in 2017 which encapsulated many walks along the beach and to the lighthouse, and Singapore, of course, where I was one day away from the magical 70,000 step goal. But despite getting close, I could never quite make it. Until now.
I figured back at the start of this year, that if there was any time to be checking off this bucket list item, my year of healthy and happy was the perfect catalyst. So I’ve been working on it, with my biggest challenge of course, being shift work.
I feel like I use this excuse a lot, but for anyone who is also a shift worker, you’ll understand that no two weeks are the same, there is no routine. Your body barely knows which way is up somedays, and so it becomes hard to squeeze a few thousand steps, let alone 10,000.
Then about two months ago, my Mr. bought me a Fitbit as a surprise. I’d had my eyes on one for a while at the time, hoping a little digital friend would help me on my quest for healthy. I’d found that the iPhone had it’s limitations and as I started to really crack down on exercise and making healthy food choices, it couldn’t keep up the way I needed it to – and besides, it was becoming increasingly hard to find active wear with pockets big enough for an iPhone Plus.
The new addition of my Fitbit Charge 3 was a bit of a game changer. Suddenly, all of my steps were being recorded far more accurately than ever before, and I was able to really define how many steps I was taking in my day to day life, and how many more would be needed to hit 10,000.
I quickly worked out that the usual afternoon dog walk was about 6,000 steps by itself. In under an hour timeframe, I could walk 4km and add 6,000 steps to the day without impacting too much on the rest of the day, or my shift work. And so I did just that, I walked one hour every day for a week.
On the days I would walk and work, I would easily rack up 12,000 – 15,000 steps. On my days off, I would find another way to make up the extra steps – whether it was gardening, or simply walking to a local waterfall, I found my way to 10,000.
The result was an achievement of 91,978 steps taken in one week. And I was so proud of myself for being able to crack the 10,000 step per day goal. It took conscientious effect to do, but finding how I was able to make 10,000 per day happen for me, was liberating. Now I know that it’s achievable, I aim for it every week.
Having this as a goal, keeps me on track daily. And I’m surprised by how much of a difference it’s already making. One of the features of my Fitbit is to track and record cardiovascular fitness, which is a huge plus for me as this is one area I am trying to improve. When I first put on my Fitbit, it proudly displayed a poor cardiovascular fitness – which to be honest, I half-expected. Now after two months of 10,000 steps per day, I’ve advanced to the top end of fair ready to jump into the average category. And I’ve never felt more excited about ‘almost being average’. The real added bonus? I now weigh in at 75.2kg – a whole 4.6kg lighter than when I first started my journey to healthy and happy, and 200g away from my first weight goal.
The next step is to turn my afternoon walks into runs – which at the time I write this, I’ve attempted three times so far. It’s safe to say I’ve neglected the idea of running for a long time, and my body knows it. But you’ve just got to start somewhere, and transforming my 10,000 steps into 15,000 quicker ones seems like a good place to start. Now watch me achieve average!
#57: Successfully achieve 10,000 steps every day for a week – check!