On June 6, 2020 I made a promise to myself to integrate a walking program into my life. Previously, I have tried so many different exercise regimens into my life and accomplished a few things along the way (finished a marathon, few half marathon, 5Ks, triathlon etc.) but these all happened a few decades ago and often lead to injuries. To me, walking was just a way to get from one point to another or something that I did when I was “hiking.”
I approached walking 10,000 steps differently because I was looking for different results. I wasn’t looking to lose weight, set any records or to get myself ready for anything else. I just wanted to walk to ground myself, maintain balance, experience weather changes and practice mindfulness. In reality, I just wanted to enjoy the walk and I did.
As I got closer to the 6 month streak I started to reflect on the magnitude of steps. I went through my Setpz App and analyzed the data (I use the free version). I walked an average of 11,000 steps a day for 189 days which is about 2,079,000 total steps since June 6. Prior to starting this journey, I never imagined that I could have walked that many steps.
Walking 10,000 steps a day required patience and time management. I learned a lot of things along the way. Here are 10 insights about my first six month streak walking 10.000 steps a day:
- Don’t chase steps – The earlier you get your steps in, the better. I definitely had some times where I was trying to get my steps in later in the evening and that lead to stress.
- Break up the walks – You don’t have to get all your steps in at once. I rarely had walks longer that 6 or 7 thousand steps. I liked chunking the steps throughout the day.
- Communicate to friends and loved ones – Let the people you spend the most time with know your goal. This helps with accountability and even a conversation.
- Invest in good sneakers – I wear running shoes that I get from the South Jersey Running Company. They specialize in matching shoes with your specific biomechanics.
- Be prepared for the weather – I walked in the rain, heat, wind and in the morning, afternoon and evening. I paid a lot of attention to the weather to see when the best time would be to walk.
- Vary your path – I am fortunate to have a bike path near my house which makes walking very easy, but I get bored. I like changing it up by walking other places.
- Park far away from your destination – If I am going to a store I usually park away from the entrance. Not only do you get more steps, but you avoid all of cars trying to get in and out of spots.
- Make calls – Nowadays, almost everyone who talks to me on the phone asks if I am walking.
- Listen to music or a podcast – When I first started out I listened to a lot of podcasts and music. As time went on, I found myself just enjoying walks without my ear buds in.
- Look up at the sky – Since it is getting dark earlier, I get to see a lot more of the stars and planets. In one walk this month (December) I was able to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with the assistance of a Star Map app.
My next goal is to make 10,000 steps a day for an entire year. I have 6 months to go, but I know I just need to take one step at a time.
Drop a comment if you plan or have embarked on a walking journey!
About the Author
Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership:It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is featured in their Alumni Spotlight. Dr. Cook is also on the Education Advisory Board for Whole Health Ed. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter.