10k Steps a Day – Week 1

As I mentioned in last weeks post – my goal for January is to walk 10,000 steps a day. I thought this would be easy enough but it’s actually been more challenging than I expected! On one hand that’s good as it keeps it interesting – if it was too easy it would get boring and if it was unrealistic I’d give up so I think it’s a good target.

I wish I could say that I hit the 10k every day but I didn’t! Some days I did, some days I was close and one day in particular I was waaaay off… I was very tempted to embellish some of the figures, however I’m sure I’m not alone and if anyone else was doing the challenge and was struggling a bit you’ll see that even if you don’t hit your target every day you’re still doing a couple of thousand steps more than you would have been doing. As long as you get out and try again the next day it’s fine!

Monday: (10,552 steps) The week started off well – mainly because I was really motivated and ready to go. I went for a long walk down in Salthill along the beach. The fact that it was a Bank Holiday and there was still a Christmassy vibe in the air made it a bit easier.

Tuesday: (9,296 steps) The weather was nice so I decided to walk into town instead of drive, walked around to all the shops and walked home. I almost reached the 10k so decided not to go for an extra walk in the evening.

Wednesday: (9,146 steps) Wednesday was another beautiful day so I dropped my car up to the garage and walked home through Salthill. I went back to collect it later on and managed to get in over 9,000 steps that day. I could have gone for another walk to get the 10k but I’d already done two 30 minute walks that day so just didn’t really have the energy! This is where taking the stairs, getting up to move every hour, walking a bit extra on lunch or break comes in. I’m not back at college yet so I’m still out of my normal routine which makes it a bit harder.

Thursday (10,320 steps): On Thursday I ended up driving into and out of town however between walking around shopping and going for a walk in the evening with my sister I passed my 10k goal by 300 steps!

Friday (1,146 steps): #F.A.I.L. – Basically it was the first day that it rained – ALL DAY. I kept saying I’d wait for it to stop but it never did so I stayed inside and justified it by working on my blog. Realistically I could have just put on my rain jacket and braved the weather but basically I got lazy. When it was too late and I realised how little steps I’d done I felt bad both physically (just groggy and stiff) and mentally (feeling like I’d failed on day three and let myself down). I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this when they set themself a health or fitness goal and don’t do as well as expected but all there is to do to recover is to get out and make sure that you don’t do the same thing the next day!

Saturday (11,868 steps): I tried to make up for Friday and even though the weather still wasn’t great, at least it wasn’t raining so I went out for a long walk with some good music and felt great!

Sunday (7,494 steps): Today I decided to bring the dog with me and 3,000 steps in she decided she was done and wanted to turn around…Somehow I managed to trick her into walking circles round a housing estate to trick her into thinking we were going home and managed to rack up a decent amount of steps. Not quite 10k but to be honest my legs are in agony after the week of walking (59,122 steps!) so I didn’t push it (clearly I was more inactive over Christmas than I thought).

So overall this week I did about 59,000 steps which works out at a daily average of about 8,500 steps. Fridays disaster brought this down a bit but to be honest for week 1 I’m pretty happy! There were days I did not want to go out walking and happily would have stayed in for the day (as evidenced by Friday) but having this target made me go out and get moving every other day, which I’m delighted about.

To be honest I used to hate walking – I was a “chubby” child and my parents used to try and bribe me to get out and go walking with them. I’d take the bribe and then walk 15 paces behind and sulk until I could turn around and go home! Then when I started rowing I hated the slow pace of walking and felt that nothing was worthwile unless I was out of breath and my legs were burning from lactic acid. However, at the ripe old age of 26 I now appreciate appeal of walking – the fresh air, quiet, calmness and relaxation it gives is something you don’t get from an intense gym session. You can also walk as fast as you want and still get that lactic acid build up and fast heartrate so you can make it as challenging as you like.

So basically this week was a bit of learning experience:

  • Firstly 10,000 steps is harder to get than I thought! It does require you to be active throughout the day as well as doing an extra walk/activity in the evening. I’m still going to aim for 10k but to be honest I’ll probably also be happy with 8k.
  • Secondly it made me realise how inactive I can be if I don’t really make the effort. If I was studying or busy I would easily have a similar day to Friday. I’d make any excuse not to get up and go to the gym/walk to the shop etc. and say I don’t have the time. However now I know that for my own mental and physical health I really do need to make the time. Work, study and college are all important and it’s easy to put them ahead of exercise but at the end of the day your health is the most important thing. The reason some people struggle with health and fitness goals is because there’s never any endpoint or ultimate “goal”. It’s a lifelong commitment and this can be really hard for people who are usually really motivated in other areas of their life. When you’re used to working towards something and thrive on rewards or completing tasks it can be challenging to keep yourself motivated to just “be healthy” as there’s never an endpoint and therefore there’s no sense of achievement for completing a task. That’s why smaller goals, e.g. 10k steps a day (or 8k or 6k!) are a good idea. When you get bored off that move onto a 5k run, then a mud-run, then a half-marathon – there’s no limits!
  • Thirdly – doing the challenge with someone else makes it so much easier! Two of my friends have FitBits aswell and the app allows you to create challenges with them. This week I did a “Workweek Hustle” challenge – basically you can see how many steps they have taken and they can see yours so you’re trying to beat each other over the week. One was waaay ahead of me (she actually did 27,000 steps the day I did 1,000 which was pretty embarrassing…). I was about 7,000 steps ahead of the other all week and was sure I was going to win but then on Friday they passed me out and ended up beating me by 50 steps which was an absolute sickener so I’m determined to beat them next week!!

Are you doing the challenge too? If you are let me know how you’re getting on!

Aisling