Monday, January 30, 2023

One Day, 10,000 Steps: Can this Mission be Accomplished?

Are you sitting down? That’s usually the question one asks before delivering bad news.
But in this case, it’s the sitting down itself that is the bad news. Sitting for long periods is a risk factor in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even cancer. The more you sit, the greater your risk. It’s even been called the “sitting disease.”
Yet most of us spend hours sitting at our desk or computer, in our car, in front of the television.
sitting in chair
Instead, fitness experts recommend we aim to get 10,000 steps a day. For most people, that’s about five miles. It does not have to be all at once. Rather, you can accumulate it over a day, and you do not have to formally exercise to obtain it.
But how hard is it to get 10,000 steps? I decided to find out. I bought a pedometer, hooked it on my waistband and set out for the day.
I began with parking my car at work. Forget searching for a parking place close to my office on the Ole Miss campus. I parked at the Ford Center and walked 825 steps or about three-tenths of a mile.
Instead of emailing co-workers, I walked to their offices. I printed from the printer on the floor below my office. I used the ladies room that was two floors below my office. I must have gone up and down the stairs 15 times that day. Rather than putting a document in campus mail, I made a quick walk across campus to deliver it.
By the end of the day, I was at about 6,000 steps. Then it was back to the Ford Center, to reach about 6,800 steps.
I still had a way to go to reach my goal. So at home, I took my dog for a walk of 3500 more steps, or about a mile and a half.
walking dog
The dog walk got me to 10,300 steps. Goal achieved! I realized that because I’m short, I cover less distance than many people would with the same number of steps. So 10,000 steps for me was a little over four miles. At about 60 calories a mile, that’s 240 extra calories I burned that day.
So, is 10,000 steps a reasonable goal? Absolutely. But as I found out, it takes some effort and determination. It also requires wearing comfortable shoes. So ladies, ditch the high heels. Now get out of that chair and go!
Robin Street teaches journalism and public relations at the University of Mississippi. She is also a freelance journalist specializing in preventive health, fitness, nutrition and mental health. She has masters degrees in both journalism and wellness from Ole Miss. She can be reached by emailing