The Value of 10K Steps
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Right now, SP tells me I have a streak of 261 days getting 10K steps. That's not a terribly impressive streak, as SparkStreaks go; but it stretches back to when I first timidly got 10K steps again after trying for low step counts to let a hurt foot get better.
Some days, I get 11K or 13K steps pretty naturally. A few days, I'll break 15K steps. On days with long runs, I have broken 20K steps. But for 261 days, I've got at least 10K steps.
The value of the 10K steps isn't that it's always great exercise. There have been days when I got pretty low energy steps. There have been days when I barely broke 10K. But in 261 days, there hasn't been a day when I sat on my butt watching TV at 8 PM while the pedometer read something under 5K steps.
Today wasn't a great exercise day. It's Thursday, a work at home day. The original plan was to do run/walk intervals at lunch. It was raining, with a temperature of 35° F. I know how to dress to run in this weather, but intervals are a puzzle. I decided I didn't want to solve that puzzle, and I walked. As I walked, I saw ice fall off some of the tree branches; I guess the forecasters got something right when they said we could get some freezing rain today.
Mr. Testosterone wanted me to run. He accused me of just being lazy, and he might be right. On the other side of my head, a little voice said an extra day off of intervals might help the sore leg get better sooner. I can't decide which voice has more reality in its argument; but I didn't run today.
What I did do was walk 5K at lunch, and drive the step count over 10K before my volunteer job this evening. If I weren't defending a 10K step streak, I probably wouldn't have gone out to walk at all. That's about 5700 steps that wouldn't have happened, as I would have sat at a computer for the time I was out walking.
And that's the true value of the 10K steps. They don't necessarily mean I'm getting a lot of exercise; but they do mean that I'm not totally sedentary. They put a minimum amount of movement in my day, and that minimum is high enought that it's not a disaster to have a bad exercise day, or even two or three bad exercise days in a week.
For me, a big component of maintenance is consistency. I need to consistently control what I eat, though one bad day now and then won't throw the train off the rails. And I need to consistently get enough physical activity to support my calorie range, or I will need to cut how much I eat. It would be theoretically possible to have days of total rest, and get enough physical activity on other days to make up for it. But I know where days of total rest lead. They lead to more days of little physical activity, as I read books, play on the internet, and fail to notice that I'm not moving.
The 10K step streak takes care of that. It's okay to read, and it's okay to play on the internet. I just can't do that so much that I don't get my 10K steps in.