More is better. That should be the American slogan — or at least, so it seems. So you walk or run 10,000 steps? Of course you have to keep upping the ante. Beat your old record. Right? Or do you?
Why 10,000 Steps?
Mr. Judy shared this post with me quite some time ago about the origins of shooting for 10,000 steps (read it here).
Fitbit, apparently, starts everyone out at 10, 000 steps a day. Which is a recipe for disaster if you’re only getting about 2,000 steps a day on average. But I like what they say in this blog post (read it here):
Thing is, 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to nab more if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, or take fewer steps if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury. Your step goal can vary depending on your needs, and it can also shift over time. Here’s how to set it right for you.
Why letting go of a step goal can make sense
I find that I have plenty of days where I’ve been active and I don’t reach 10,000 steps. There are no steps in swimming. There are no steps in cycling (stationary, in my case). There are times when pushing yourself to get to the holy grail of 10k steps (15, or whatever) just don’t make sense, but it’s become so ingrained in us that we must reach a certain step goal that a lot of us don’t stop to think if we’ve been active enough . . . even if we’re not getting in the “holy grail” of steps.
Don’t forget, either, that it’s about balance over time. Maybe on a rest day you only get in 6000 steps, but on a more active day you get in well over 10k — it’s very easy for me to get in well over 10k steps on days that I run, but on busy days I may be active, but still not able to get to 10k steps. And I’m okay with that. And you should be, too.
Maybe a better goal is to shoot for an average daily number of steps based on a week’s worth of data.
One reason people often quit running — and exercise in general — is because it’s “too hard”. Well, of course it feels too hard if you go from 2,000 to 10,000 steps immediately. It takes time for your body to adapt to exercise (or re-adapt to exercise after a break).
I had a lot of 2000 step days & I’m okay with that
It’s much more important to listen to your body than to blindly follow a goal that “someone” says you should be following.
When I was sick, I didn’t do much of anything for a couple of weeks. My body needed that rest. And when I started to add activity back in, I also found that I needed more rest than normal — so I still rarely got anywhere near to 10k steps.
Slowly, but surely, though, I felt better. For a while I need way more rest than normal, but as I continued to add in activity and balance it with rest, I found I didn’t need as much recovery time. This week, for the first time in weeks, I ran back to back days. Easy, short runs, of course.
Last week there were days I had well over 10k steps — I ran. I ran and walked the dogs. They were balanced by days that I was active — doing bodyweight exercises and stationary biking — but fell short of 10k steps. Because I’m more in step with what my body needs right now.
It’s okay to challenge yourself
Don’t get me wrong: you have to change things up. You have to increase your walks, your runs, your weights. Your body quickly adapts to a certain amount of exercise, and you need to change it up to get stronger. I’m not saying you shouldn’t challenge yourself.
That doesn’t mean you have to constantly increase the same thing because someone said that 10k steps is what you need — or more. Balance over time, folks, balance over time. Figure out what’s right for your body, and take what “they” say with a grain of salt.
Do you have a step goal?
Do you make sure that you reach it every day?
How do you feel if you don’t reach your goal?