Can You Walk Ten Thousand Steps A Day, Every Day?

I’ve been hearing the latest health edict for quite a while.

“Sitting is the new smoking!”

The human body was made to move, not sit. Get up and walk. Just do it.

OK, I sprang for a book. “This Is Your Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want,” by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. It’s 358 pages hardback, including index and a forward by Dr. Oz. Yep, that Dr. Oz.

The book is just published in February 2015. Only $26 in the U.S., $32 in Canada. I heard about it on Maryland Public Television. Since when does Public TV do infomercials for books?

I’ll be the first to admit it, I could use a do-over. Lots of things I’d like to do over. How often does a complete stranger come along and offer you a second chance? Huh?

“By learning to incorporate seven simple principles into your life, you can erase virtually all of the damage that your body may have sustained.”

Thus says the good doctor, Michael Roizen. Who is he kidding? On the other hand, he happens to be the “chief wellness officer” at the Cleveland Clinic. It’s in Cleveland.

Dr. Roizen promises that if we follow his program, we’ll all live longer and better, “with a stronger body, a sharper mind, a more-fulfilling sex life, and so much energy . . .” Blah, Blah, Blah.

Is Dr. Roizen serious? Yes, apparently he is.  Serious as a heart attack. Serious as a heart attack AND a Marine drill sergeant.

“This Is Your Do-Over” covers a lot of territory, especially nutrition and exercise. The nutrition part seems a little complicated, to me.  I think it might involve giving up most of the things I like to eat. You know, cheese, meat, eggs, fat, sugar. Whoa, I believe I’ll come back to nutrition later. For now, I’ll go straight to exercise.

Dr. Roisen recommends that I simply do a little bit of regular physical activity. He talks some about other exercise, but he is most adamant about walking.

“Ten thousand steps is the magic number — and you can get there.”

Ten thousand steps every day, seven days a week! By the way, ten thousand steps equals about five miles, according to the good doctor.

So I go out to purchase a pedometer. I wanted a simple, old-fashioned, mechanical pedometer. But of course I couldn’t find anything so simple. I ended up buying a “Fitbit.” It’s small and high-tech, and it costs more than I planned to spend. That’s what credit cards are for.

I’ve been using the Fitbit for about a week. It tells me how many steps I take, how many miles I walk, how many calories I burn. It even knows what time it is.

So far, I’ve made ten thousand steps only one day. But at least I know it can be done. Dr. Roisen says it’s a perfectly reasonable number. You can achieve 10K if you walk steadily for at least a half-hour every day. And then park the car a far distance from the mall or the grocery store for the balance of the day. Simple. I believe the doctor.

Today, Thursday, I’ve only racked up 8,232 steps. I was going to report my miles and calories burned as well. But the clock just struck midnight, the Fitbit erased all of Thursday’s information, and I’m starting Friday with zero steps.

Look, I’ll have to get back to you on the walking project. Maybe I’ll check in next time I hit ten thousand miles — I mean steps — in a single 24-hour period. Right now it’s Friday, a whole new day, another chance at a do-over. I’ve got to get moving.

— John Hayden

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8 Comments

Filed under Books, Health

8 responses to “Can You Walk Ten Thousand Steps A Day, Every Day?

  1. Judymarieh

    I shoot for 5,000 steps a day and use the Accupedo apple application on my iPhone. It keeps your history and motivates me to move! OC Judy

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    • Hi Judy, Everyone has an iPhone. It’s on my list. An iPhone is especially handy for WordPress bloggers. You can take photos and insert them direct from the phone into a blog. Also, with verbal recognition, I believe it is now possible to dictate posts — maybe even dictate as you walk.

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  2. A whole lot of horrible puns have come to mind. Movement is a step in the in right direction. Or have I put my foot in it? Well, walk it off.
    Seriously, movement is the best thing for the human body and something I have to keep reminding myself of in this techno-centric society. Best of luck to you!

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  3. Thanks Michelle! Wouldn’t it be great if blogging counted as physical activity?

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  4. Um, not gonna get any argument from this quarter. May I add that intensity is equally important — if it’s one of those days when you’re pretty sure that the step count ain’t gonna hit ten grand, at least find a hill to go up as fast as you can, no excuses (other than actually feeling wobbly). Or a long flight of stairs. I used to do the escalator of the Rosslyn Station on the Washington Metro, up the hill three blocks and seven flights to the office where I worked, for my many sins, in the late 70s.

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  5. I used to run up and down the steps, two at a time, at the AAA headquarters building in downtown D.C., where I worked when I was in college. One day we got a brand new, heavy, fragile, piece of office equipment. The manager ordered me to take it upstairs in the elevator.

    Alas, the building has long-since been demolished, the AAA headquarters moved to Florida, and my days of taking the stairs two at a time are in the past. However, since getting the Fitbit, I’ve started using the steps again. I’m on the third floor of my apt building, so it’s built-in exercise. Every step counts.

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  6. schmale50

    Judy, Karen and Lynn have joined the Fitbit craze and challenge each other to 10,000 steps/day. Good luck with your resolution!

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    • Hi Lynn, the fit bit is a good motivational device. I still use it every day but rarely hit 10,000 steps. I figure even 6000 steps is pretty good at my age. But then, I’ve always been good at rationalizing. 10,000 steps would be too easy on the boardwalk. Good luck to all of you. I’ll redouble my efforts at 10,000 myself.

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