A few weeks ago, I started something new. I started walking up to 10,000 steps a day. I’ve heard about the benefits of walking and have tried – unsuccessfully – to start a walking routine over the years. There has always been something in my way or some excuse like: I can’t leave the kids, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, the hills are too steep or my shoes are not comfortable enough.
But, I’ve been seeing some slow changes in my health over the past couple of years that has me concerned. I don’t want my autoimmune diseases to progress – in fact – I’d like to see them reverse. Plus, I’ve had some slow weight gain creeping up on me and nothing I’ve tried has been working, even though I’ve stayed consistent with my pilates routine and my supplements, which had worked for me in the past.
So, I made a decision recently to order a mini-treadmill that I can quickly set up and move around my house and start getting those steps in. It has an acrylic desk for my computer and is easy to move when we have guests over. Since getting my little treadmill, I’ve been working hard at getting 10,000 steps a day and I’ve been surprised by the results.
How To Walk 10,000 Steps A Day:
The hardest part to walking 10,000 steps a day is the physical time that it takes and having a place to do it. For me, the constant challenge was that we live in a very hilly area, so if there was any inclement weather – too much sun, too much rain, too many mosquitos out – I would talk myself out of it.
I needed a no-escape plan for getting the steps in and I wasn’t going to plunk down thousands of dollars for a giant machine that would take up half a room and just gather dust.
So, I started looking for a mini-treadmill or something with a desk that I could walk on while I work from home and get those steps in no matter what.
I found all kinds of cool mini-treadmills and walking pads that you can put under a standing desk if you already have one, which was exactly what I was looking for.
I ended up with a cute white mini treadmill with an acrylic desk I could put my computer on. There’s not need for a monitor or fancy display, because I either walk while I’m working or I catch up on reality TV while I’m getting my steps in. It was affordable (under $400), delivered quickly and is actually kind of cute.
For me, this has removed the number one barrier to walking more and it has made it 100% easier for me to reach my goals of walking more.
*While this mini treadmill works for me, it does have a 250lb weight limit. So, definitely do your research to find the one that works best for you and your space. Also, I bought this with my own money and do recommend it. If you choose to make a purchase through my links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Win win!
How Long Does It Take To Walk 10,000 Steps a Day:
The first thing that surprised me about this new goal was how long it took me to actually reach 10,000 steps a day. I started tracking how much I already walk on my phone and even borrowed an apple watch to get a more accurate read on my steps.
Turns out, my daily count is similar to the national average of walking around 3000 – 4000 steps a day. I was really surprised by this and thought I was getting a lot more activity than this each day. That meant that I needed to make up around 6,000 steps a day.
I like that my mini-treadmill tracks my steps, the distance, as well as how fast I’m walking and the overall time. It’s a simple display that tells me exactly what I need to know.
I’ve learned that at a normal stride – not power walking, nor walking super slow – at a pace of around 2 – 2.2, it takes me an hour, or 60 minutes, to walk 6,000 steps.
I know people who are taller and have a longer stride or maybe walk faster than me could do more than this in an hour, but this is my average after a few weeks of cruising on my walking pad at a consistent, but average, pace. I’m 5’5 for reference, if this helps.
Walking any faster than this burns me out too quickly and I can’t make it all the way through the steps. I have been nursing some foot inflammation for at least 6 months and really can’t push myself any harder than this without waking up with intense foot pain, so for me – slow and steady wins the race.
If I had to walk the entire 10,000 steps on the treadmill, at an average of 1,000 steps per 10 minutes, this would take me one hour and 40 minutes to complete.
How To Walk 10,000 Steps a Day:
Something I’ve learned from this experiment is that it is much easier to break up the walk into shorter segments than to power through an hour straight.
If I can fit in 10 minute walks after each meal, or even a 20 minute walk after lunch, then I only have 30 minutes or so left at the end of the day after my kids are in bed, which is when I have time to do my walking.
On the days when I can’t or don’t do this, I power through the full hour I have left at around 9pm at night. I would never have gone outside and walked around for an hour in the dark, so I am only able to do this because of my mini-treadmill.
To figure out how to walk the full 10,000, start by tracking how much you are already walking, then take the remainder and break it up. For example, if you walk 3,000 steps a day, you need to get 7,000 more steps which might take you 60-70 minutes per day or less.
So, you might break up your walk, like this:
- After breakfast: 10 minutes
- After lunch: 20 minutes
- After dinner: 10 minutes
- Evening: 30 minutes
How To Get More Steps In:
Once I started the long evening walks and realized how much easier it would be if I got the steps earlier, I’ve found some creative ways to walk more during the day. Here are some ways to get more steps in:
- Park further away. Bonus points is that you’ll have an easier time finding a spot and your car won’t get nicked as often.
- Walk when you’re talking on the phone. These passive activities can now improve your health.
- Walk around if you’re waiting somewhere, such as at an activity for your kids. I’ve seen moms jogging in place while waiting for their kids to get out of class. Any time you find yourself standing and it’s socially appropriate to move around, start walking.
- Go the store instead of ordering delivery whenever possible. Walking around the grocery store equals more steps.
What I’ve noticed is that now that I’m looking for reasons to walk more, I find them all the time, whereas before I was looking for places to sit down and rest while waiting. This shift in my mindset has improved my overall health, fitness level and also increased my step counts.
Can You Lose Weight Walking 10,000 Steps a Day?
Ahhh, this is the big question, am I right? Most of us start exercising more because we want to lose weight. For those of us in chronic pain, losing weight would mean less pressure on our joints and less painful inflammation, too.
I have not been walking long enough to see a huge change here, but I will tell you what I have seen so far:
Walking more ABSOLUTELY is improving my lymphatic system function. I am sweating more during these walks than I do during my pilates classes.
Also, I am noticing that in the mornings after my walks, I am less inflamed and my joints are actually in less pain. After a few weeks of doing the walking and upping my anti-inflammatory smoothies as meal replacements, my right foot pain which has been very limiting is actually getting better.
This foot pain was so bad I went and got x-rays to make sure my foot wasn’t broken, so this is a significant and huge win for me.
I’ve also had some people say that my face looks less puffy and I have noticed that as well. I feel like I am having some body composition changes, which is a sign that I’m on the right track and that weight loss is right around the corner.
I definitely feel that walking is improving my overall health and it’s also helping my mindset, too. I feel better about myself and my health when I walk instead of loaf on the couch for an hour. I am a huge fan of resting when you need it as well, but I think that my body has been too stagnant over the past few years and really needs to move more. Your body might be needing the same thing, but it’s telling you in ways that are confusing, such as a sluggish lymphatic system, more joint pain, more brain fog, more stomach distress.
It can be easy to feel this way and think – I need to lay down – but really, what your body is craving is more movement.
Will I Keep Walking 10,000 Steps a Day?
Yup! I am going to keep walking with the goal of hitting 10,000 steps a day and will report back with any more health improvements and/or weight loss that I experience. When I started googling walking more, I really didn’t find anything personal or helpful, particularly for those of us with chronic pain or autoimmune issues, so I wanted to share my experience in case it helps someone else.
If you are stuck and not walking because of barriers like I had, consider a walking pad or a mini treadmill. They are a super affordable option. Plus, I can walk in my comfy sandals, too, because I’m in my house and I don’t have to worry about it. This is a big win for me, since my feet don’t like being stuffed into sneakers.
Would you be interested in walking with me and tracking our progress? I’d love to partner with you! Find me on Instagram @ispyfabulous if enough people reach out, we can create a little walking group!
Have a fabulous day,