What I learnt by walking 10,000 steps every day

·4 min read

For most part of my adult life, I’ve struggled with weight issues and related ailments. There was a brief moment in 2019 when I’d managed to get some form of exercise every day for a couple of months but that too was often interrupted by my incessant travels. 

Of course, I would make full use of the gym in my hotels but being in different cities or time zones every few months wasn’t boding well for my workout routine. Ultimately, when the lockdown began I found myself restricted to the four walls of my home. 

As time passed, I gave up working out completely and, by the end of one year, I had put on 10 kilos.

Photo: Daniel Reche/Pexels
Photo: Daniel Reche/Pexels

Sometime in January this year, I hired a trainer but sooner rather than later, I began getting lethargic and was getting injuries more than ever. As luck would have it, our city went into another lockdown and my trainer was unable to make it. So I was left to my own devices. By the end of March, I realised that if I had to get over my injuries, I would have to start by doing the one thing I’d not done in a long time: walk every day, without fail, without excuses.

So, on April 1, I started with the aim of completing at least 10,000 steps every day. Thankfully my house has a sufficiently large compound so I could easily walk without breaking any social distancing norms and remain safe. This is what I learnt in my one month of walking 10,000 steps every day.

1. It’s more difficult than I thought

Even though I used to be a lot fitter when I was younger, I was clearly a lot more out of shape than I thought. On my first day, it took me more than two hours just to complete the 10,000 steps. Which is a little over 7 km. My back hurt and my legs hurt and I could not wait for it to get over. Over the next few days, I managed to get myself an orthopaedic belt which helped reduce the back pain considerably as I walked. But the first few days were particularly rough. I barely made it to 10k and just walked home and crashed.

2. It gets easier a lot faster

By the second week, I was already beginning to see the change in how my body reacted to the workout. My back was no longer hurting and I was beginning to walk at a faster pace. Now, after 10 days or so, I was actually beginning to enjoy my walks because my back wasn’t hurting anymore.

3. My resting heart rate improved

Even on the best of the days, my resting heart rate would be 83-85 bpm. It was too high for someone my age. It was too high for anyone of any age. In under a month, my resting heart rate came down to 70 bpm. On one day it hit the sub-70 mark, which I’ve never seen on my Fitbit.

4. There were days when I had to push myself to complete 10,000 steps

This wasn’t just on the first or second day of my workout. Even on the 29th or 30th day of my challenge, I felt like giving up. The temptation to not do something strenuous and take the easy way out was always there. But just the knowledge that all it takes is an hour to feel accomplished, is what kept me motivated. The thrill of seeing 10,000 on my Fitbit was incomparable. There were days when I would feel lazy to do any exercise the whole day but leave the house past 10 pm and walk for 90 minutes and meet my target just before the stroke of midnight.

5. I didn’t lose a lot of weight

At the end of the month, I may have lost just about 800 gms. But that was nothing compared to how good I felt at the end of each day. I was able to walk faster, cover more distance, and build up for intermediate level exercises in the coming months.

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