10,000 steps folly

I have now knocked up 10,000 steps (or more – often more) each day for the last 45 days, according to my Garmin watch. Given that some days, I’ve done far more than 10,000 steps, I reckon I’ve managed somewhere around half a million steps in the last 6½ weeks. And that’s on top of gym visits and cycling and other things that don’t get recorded as steps.

And now it’s become a bit of a thing to keep it going, and that’s why (very occasionally) you’ll find me walking around the garden at 9pm just to knock off the last 500. Yes, I get health insurance points for it. No, they’re not really worth much. But yes, I do see it as something of a personal challenge and yes, I know that 10,000 steps (or so) is not going to be enough to keep this middle-age weight down.

That’s what (for me, at least) this guy fails to get. He doesn’t like the 10,000 step thing at all:

“There’s no scientific validation. It’s very hard to do it every day, and there’s no mention of intensity, or difficulty level, or heart rate, or breathing, or anything that determines whether exercise is valuable to you from a cardiovascular perspective.”

He quotes someone as saying.
Well, it’s not hard at all – as proven by my last 45 days.

If you are a top athlete (or even if you’re not), doing 10,000 steps (or anywhere thereabouts, because sure, this isn’t an exact science) is not going to make you into a world beater. That’s where the extras – the gym and the cycling – come in. You’ll need conditioning, coaching, a decent diet and perhaps even some mental training to achieve your lofty goals.

The thing is that it isn’t about that though. If you’re a top athlete but you need a watch to tell you that you haven’t done much exercise today, then actually, I’d wager that you’re not actually a top athlete at all.

But for the average Joe (or Joanne) on the street, a reasonably price watch which helpfully tells the time, and can give them some idea of how active they’ve been that day, is a godsend. Because then they can see that at 5pm they’ve been lounging around in front of a computer screen for too long that afternoon. And they can choose to do something about it.

Sure, Discovery (aforementioned medical insurance) uses 5,000 and 10,000 as their goto numbers, but then I can get as many points as I do for 10,000 steps each day simply by scanning my card at the gym. I don’t even have to look at a cardio machine, let alone do anything on one. They don’t value those 10,000 steps too highly.

It doesn’t even have to be 10,000 steps. Simply because “there’s no scientific validation”, that 10,000 really is completely arbitrary. Do what you want with the numbers: it’s there just as a guide, an aide-memoire.
But surely if it helps you to be more active than your mate who doesn’t subscribe to the 10,000 steps mantra, then it’s a good thing. It’s certainly not doing me any harm, anyway.

That said, blogging is a very sedentary endeavour, and thus I must get myself moving. These steps aren’t going to walk themselves, you know.