Over the last few months, seeing my stories where I walk indoors or when I share my step-count at the end of the day, I’ve received many questions.
How do you do it?
How does it help in staying fit/losing weight?
How much time does it take?
How do you find the time?
What band do you use to measure the steps? etc.
So I thought, what the heck! Let me share all of this information in one place.
As many of you know, I am on a journey to lead a healthy lifestyle and get fit. As a part of that journey, with guidance from Elina from Diet Funda, I am mindful about what I eat (as well as how much), I exercise for 15-20 minutes a day (at least) and walk 10,000 steps every day. With a toddler as enthusiastic as mine, that is a challenge. I am unable to do 100% of everything, but I realised that walking is the only thing on ‘Fitness To-Do List’ that requires THE LEAST amount of preparation and it is the only one that can be done (almost) ANY TIME of the day.
And the BIGGEST LIFE-ALTERING REALISATION I had? Well, it was that I DON’T HAVE TO WALK ONLY OUTDOORS. What’s important is that you’re moving and active; not where you’re doing it.
When I started this regimen last year when I was still breastfeeding a teething toddler, and I realised that it wasn’t possible to step outdoors every day, especially during the rains. So one day I tried walking indoors and I was pretty amazed by how quickly and easily I was able to reach my target.
You see, I have this long corridor in my house that runs from my living room, through a passage, to our bedroom. That’s easily 25-35 steps (one way) depending on whether the bedroom door is open or shut. It is a fantastic place to walk and I loved how I could just go to and fro multiple times and have a couple of thousand steps under my belt.
And I’m pretty sure that you can do it too.
So here’s presenting Part 1 of a 3-part series of #GetYourDaily10kOn. If you want to start too, here’s what you’ll need.
1. A long stretch of corridor.
Basically, some empty, furniture-free space to walk. An L-shaped corridor/passage might work too, but it’s easier if you don’t have to turn too many times and break your flow.
2. Proper shoes.
DO NOT WALK BARE FEET. I made the mistake of doing that and I developed painful callouses on both my feet, right in the middle of the balls of the feet. That made regular walking and standing painful as well. Shoes not only provide a nice cushion to your feet, they also give you a good grip when you walk fast and protect your ankles.
Regular footwear WILL NOT WORK. In fact, it may cause problems too. So it is preferable to wear proper shoes when walking for long stretches – outdoors or indoors. In such a case, it’s a good idea to one pair have indoors-only shoes. I use mine only for exercise and walking indoors. If I ever decide to go to the gym or a dance class, I can use the same shoes there as well as most such establishments do not allow you to wear shoes that you wear outdoors.
They don’t have to be expensive shoes. If you already own a pair but have worn them outdoors, just give them a good wash before you start wearing them indoors.
3. An app on your phone that’ll count your steps.
The Health App inbuilt in Apple phones does this automatically. For Android devices, there’s Google Fit app. Google fit is available on the Apple store, so I’m sure it will be available across platforms. The only disadvantage of using JUST THIS APP is that you will NEED to have your phone in your hand or wear something that has pockets so you can carry it with you, because only then will it be able to calculate your steps. And while that’s not such a bad thing, it limits the number of things you can do while on your walk if your hands are burdened with a phone (complete list of things you can do coming in Part 3 of this series).
Also, if your phone is charging or is low on battery, you may have to wait until it’s charged enough. As a mom, if you don’t have a charged device when you have the time to walk, it’s pretty pointless. An easier alternative is… (see next point)
4. A fitness band/tracker.
If you don’t know what that is, allow me to explain. It is like a watch that you wear on your wrist that measures your steps. I’ll do a separate post on this later to explain how awesome it is, the one I’m currently using is the MI Band 4* (I actually use MI Band 3 and Band 4* is my husband’s but I’m testing it so I can write a comparative review in a couple of weeks’ time).
It measures your steps and sleep, as well as monitors your activity during workouts. You can also change the settings and tell the device that you’re exercising or on the treadmill and accordingly it will measure your steps and calories burnt. This allows you to be phone-free when you walk and opens up a lot of possibilities when it comes to the things you can do, but is not ESSENTIAL to the whole process, even though it makes it a whole lot easier.
In fact, if you’re outdoors and dressed up and feel like the band doesn’t match your outfit, you can even take it off and put just the device (without the band) in your pocket or your purse (something that you’ll keep with you at ALL times), and it will STILL count all your steps.
I’m working on a comprehensive post on both, MI Bands 3 and 4, in which I will share all features in detail. For this post, however, all you need to care about is whether it can track your steps without your phone, and yes it can.
5. 35 minutes to an hour-long stretch of time.
Why 35 minutes? Well, stay tuned for the next post in this series to find out. The longer you can walk at a stretch, the better it is. But if you’re pressed for time, a short 10-15 minute walk multiple times a day, even though not as effective as a longer walk, will still help you. Set a timer on your phone that’ll remind you every 60-90 minutes that you have to get up and get moving. Your fitness band (see point 4 above) can also be programmed to help you do that.
Now that we all know what we need, the next questions might be:
What is the right way to do it?
When is the right time to do it?
Should one walk before meals or after?
What should be the ideal gap between meals and walking?
How slow or fast should one walk? For how long?
Now all of these are questions I am not qualified to answer. So I got on board somebody who is. She also happens to be the person guiding me through my fitness journey since last year. In the next instalment of this post, you’ll say hello to Elina from Diet Funda and get your answers to everything about how we can get the most out of our 10,000 daily steps.
But for now, you can start small. Set a small target for yourself and try to achieve that consistently for the next week – maybe 5,000 or 6,000 steps. Once you and your body have gotten used to that, level up. Increase to 6,500 or 8,000 and achieve that consistently for a week or so before you set 10k as your goal. Unless you’re already used to some amount of walking on a regular basis.
The idea is to gradually get your body used to this rather than setting a big goal right at the beginning when your body may not be ready for it.
And next Monday, I’ll be here with some more information from Elina, a Challenge and a Giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Until then, here are the questions she’s going to answer about walking your daily 10k steps. If you want to ask something in addition to this, please leave a comment below. However, PLEASE READ THE QUESTIONS LISTED BELOW. There’s a good chance, we’ve already covered it. 🙂
Elina is going to tell us…
- What is the whole idea behind walking 10,000 steps a day, especially since she also recommends exercise and of course, a healthy, nutritious diet?
- What is the right way to do it? Are we supposed to walk ALL 10,000 steps in one go? Or can we do it in parts?
- If someone, like me, wears a fitness band that counts every movement, for example, even when I’m walking from the living room to the bedroom, or moving around in the kitchen, do those steps help? Or should I only count those steps where I’m consciously walking?
- So it’s not always possible to find an entire hour to walk. Is it alright if I walk for 10-15 minutes between doing other things?
- What’s the logic behind walking for at least 35 minutes at a stretch?
- What’s the ideal speed for walking? Rather, how should we decide if we are walking fast enough for this exercise to work?
- What about food intake? Is it better to walk before meals or after? And what should be the ideal time gap between meals and walking?
- Is there anything else we need to be mindful of when walking 10,000 steps every day?
So, do you have any more questions about getting your daily 10k on? Let me know in the comments.