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The Journey of 10,000 Steps

I am once again being outdone by my mother. 

She is on a mission – 10,000 steps a day.  She has got her little pedometer that she now clips on her waistband each day as she records her steps.  She is doing it as part of a fundraising program at her retirement home.  But whether or not she records her results really doesn’t matter; she would walk that amount each and every day anyway – it is part of her daily routine. 

10,000 steps a day is what all the health and fitness experts recommend NOT for weight loss, but just for general well being.  That being the case, you would think if you were a relatively active person (no coach potatoes here) it would be fairly easy to hit 10,000 steps per day.  Yeah right.  Give it a try; see what YOU come up with.

A year ago (or maybe it was 2 or 3) this Zen Mama Wannabe started wearing a pedometer all the time to see how I was doing step-wise.  I was pretty confident; after all, chasing after 2 small children and running myself ragged with our daily routine was bound to count for something.  Right??  Not quite. 

The first day I recorded 3,500 steps.  Obviously it wasn’t working properly.  Maybe I didn’t have it hooked on correctly.  The next day the number was slightly more – but only by a little.  Later that week, it finally went over 5,000.  You’ve got to be kidding me, I remember thinking; I’m only HALF way there???!  

On a day I felt I was moving non-stop all day, I got to 8,000 steps.  It was soon apparent that the only way I was going to reach 10,000 or more steps was with a dedicated walk each day.  My average moving about, running here and there and back over there wasn’t going to do it.  I confess, I was shocked. 

It took me adding in a 30-minute walk around the block to get to 10,000 steps a day.  Which I did a few times, and then I got busy.  The numbers on the pedometer started dropping.  I would “forget” to put it on in the morning – and how could you start later in the day when all those millions of steps you already took wouldn’t count?  You can see where this is going.

My mom doesn’t have excuses.  Her arthritic fingers fumble with the darn thing each morning and yet she still manages to fasten it on.  Her deteriorating eyesight makes it hard for her to read the numbers on the little screen and yet she has figured out a way to hold it just so at the end of day so she can record her results.  

She has been taking a morning walk before breakfast ever since I can remember; she says it is how she gets the aches and pains out of her body.  She is the one that CHOOSES to take the stairs up and down from her room on the 3rd floor instead of the elevator.  Even with all that, SHE wasn’t going over 10,000 steps a day in the beginning. 

10,000 steps is the equivalent of approximately 5 miles.  Again, this is what is being recommended for a basic fitness level.  For those interested in weight loss, the number of steps needs to go up.  According to studies, children ages 6-12 need even more.  12,000 steps per day is what is recommended for girls, with 15,000 steps a day for boys. 

I wonder how many of us in the United States walk 10,000 steps a day?  We have turned into such a sedentary society, and yet we act surprised when we hear the rising numbers of obesity and various health conditions now affecting our adults and even young people.  I wonder what would happen if we all started moving our bodies more? 

Any journey begins with a single step (and then another and then another – and then maybe before we know it we’ll be at 10,000 steps too).  For the rest of the month of December I am going to go back to wearing my pedometer.  I’m calling it an experiment – just to see where I am at.  It might just encourage me to be a bit more active this month – at a time when I NEED to keep moving (‘cuz those Christmas cookies always seem to call out to me and I refuse to end this month heavier than I started!)

My mother is nearly half a century older than I am.  Something is very wrong with this picture if SHE is moving and walking MORE than I am!  Same goes for you!  Are you going to be outdone by an 88-year old woman??  Time to clip on that pedometer (you can pick one up for $10 at any sporting goods store) and go for a walk!

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3 Responses to “The Journey of 10,000 Steps”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Your mom sounds like an amazing person! She certainly put me to shame. I am off to put on the pedometer I have had for several years but never used. Thanks for the motivating story!

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