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The Problem

CA students and members are veering towards obesity because of prolonged sedentariness in their lifestyles. We have all the rights to be proud of ourselves that we do knowledge work, but a full day of inventory verification will tell us where our fitness levels are.

Simply google “the dangers of sitting” and you will find a host of articles from Mayo Clinic to WebMD backing the fact that prolonged sitting increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, dementia, and varicose veins.

The painless method to walk 10,000 steps a day

The probability is that one may still know the negative consequences of prolonged sitting and still could not do something about it.

The Solution

Now, I don't want to sound like a drill sergeant and say you need the motivation to stay fit. Forget about fitness. As long as you are relying on motivation and willpower to do anything in life, you are leaving progress to chance. So, there has to be a way other than motivation and willpower.

Also, note that I am not going to sell Zumba, Yoga, or HIIT. It's excellent if you have already a steady routine on any of them. But they are not a solution for “everyone". Plus, one may hit the gym for a solid one hour, break a good sweat, and still end up being a couch potato for the next 23 hours. That will undo all the gains.

Rather, we are going to look into a simple and painless solution that everyone can do; a solution that is sustainable; the champion of all fitness activities: walking.

The Action Plan

The title of this article is how to walk painlessly 10,000 steps a day. But the easiest path to walk 10,000 steps a day is to start walking 3,000 steps a day.

You can start from Day one with 10,000 steps, keep at it for three days till the motivation lasts, and then on Day four, you won't walk more than 100 steps. Therefore, it is wiser to start from the floor level. A minimum-but-challenging target. Say, 3,000 steps.

You need not have a big walking area around your apartment. You can very much walk within your house. First, figure out how many steps you can make across each end of the house. Even if you live in a 500 sq. ft apartment, the end-to-end walking length should easily be around 50 steps (up and down).

Your goal is to walk only 300 steps at a time. That would mean if you pace from one end to the other and back, 6 rounds, you would achieve this number.

It will be monotony if you have to walk all 3,000 steps in one shot like this. But 300 steps at a time should not be a trouble. And set a reminder on your phone to get up from your chair and walk 300 steps every half hour.

Use a smartwatch or the pedometer app on your phone to track your step count.


My quick story

I started my walking habit on 09-Jun-2020, as I badly wanted to find a way to keep my body moving. I tried walking 10,000 steps a day right from Day one. I ended up being so inconsistent for 2 months.

Then, I took it small and slow. I got a brand-new start with a revised target of only 5,000 steps a day. I kept on to that target for 66 days.

Then, I upped it to 6,000 steps a day. I kept on to that level for over 100 days. Currently, I am walking 7000 steps a day. I will eventually reach 10,000 steps a day in 6 months.

See the image to have an idea about my progress over 400 days. I have walked over two million steps in that period and burned over 1 lakh calories.


The Caution

Ideally finish 30% of the daily target before 11 am, 60% by 2 pm, and 100% by 6 pm.

If you keep idle throughout the day and wait till evening to start walking, you will hardly hit the daily target.

And if you miss the target 3 days in a row, you are more likely to quit following through on this habit. Therefore, start with a doable number.

Suppose you start with 3,000 steps. If you can hit this target for a continuous period of 28 days, then increase it to 4,000 steps on Day 29. (You need not be too slow like me and hang on to a target for 66 days.)

Keep increasing the target by 1,000 steps every 28 days and you will reach 10,000 steps one day. This will take around 7-8 months from today if you start with 3,000 steps. But never miss a day.


More Ideas

  • Walk when you are making phone calls.
  • Go to the grocery stores by walk as much as you can.
  • You walk the dog (if you have one). Don't outsource it to the maid.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a treadmill, play your favorite series on the side and keep walking.
  • And last, at the risk of sounding cliched, take the stairs.

The Conclusion

We humans evolved through walking. Keep at this habit for just six months and see how you change from the inside. You would resist the very feeling to be a couch potato and that would slowly disappear all your health-related worries. It's a slow grind, agreed. But it will be a lasting one.

The author can be reached at @author_hareesh on Instagram.

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