Why I Stopped Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

A cap, water bottle and ASICS runners ready for a big walk.
A cap, water bottle, and ASICS runners ready for a big walk. 


Hey, what's up all. Ryan here. So today I wanted to just go into what I discovered walking 10,000 steps a day for months. I'll go through some of the good things and not-so-good things. 

The main motivation for this was to get back into shape and not sit on the couch like I did when the pandemic first started. I gained weight, felt like crap, and had little to no walking routine. 

The steps data is coming from my Google Fit app with just my phone. 


My Benefits Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

Great Physical Energy 

The first was an increase in energy. Because of the consistent walking of 10,000 steps, my body just felt good. I'm not an expert in this field, but I can say, with confidence, standing up and doing basic activities alongside walking boosted up my energy.

Weight Loss, Yes, Walking Actually Helped

The second benefit was in weight loss and I did notice over time that my belt notch got a little bit tighter and tighter which was nice. 

Decent Sleep, Not Great, Decent

The last thing was I got decent sleep. I'm not saying I got amazing sleep, but I got decent sleep. The walking made me pretty tired by the end of the day, so, I slept a bit better. 


Downsides of Walking My 10,000 Steps a Day

So, overall walking 10,000 steps, a day was a great experience but there were some things that were not so great. So I thought I would get into that right now. 


The Goal of 10,000 Steps a Day Pushed Me Too Hard

The first thing, which was not so obvious in the beginning was, I was actually focusing on the goal of walking 10,000 steps a day and not the habit of walking.

Let me try to explain. I was always pushing my body and mind forward to the goal of 10,000 steps every day. So I might be sitting for a while then realize, "Oh!, I got to get my steps up to 10,000," and then I would go for a longer than usual walk, which would put my body into a more anxious state, causing a faster pace and eventually overtraining. 

The solution was to get into the habit of walking in smaller chunks throughout the day and naturally letting the 10,000 steps accumulate. I listened to a great book called,


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Hardcover – Oct. 16 2018 by James Clear. 

He explains the goal vs habit mindset much better. 

No Rest Days

I didn't give my body any recovery time, I just walked to my 10,000 steps and then assumed that the recovery time would happen when I would sleep. This was a mistake. I pushed my body too hard and then I really noticed it in my calf muscles, which cascades into the next issue, which is irritation, anger and feeling down.

Sometimes Irritated, Sometimes Sad
As the good old 10,000 steps accumulated, I would just get a little irritated and sad. Not what I expected, especially at the beginning of this walking journey. The solution again was to make the steps more flexible. Example:

Migraines 

I was not really paying attention to my diet, and sometimes, I wouldn't eat too much food in the evening. So, in my world, it triggered my migraines. I always get migraines when I don't eat enough food after exercise. The solution was to eat enough food before I go to bed even if it's late at night. At first, I thought eating late would put on the pounds, but it was ok. 

So there you have it, my experience walking 10,000 steps a day. In conclusion, I don't feel I need to walk 10,000 steps a day every day. As long as I'm feeling good, and able to do all the other activities in my day, I'm good. 

I did make a video on my current walking routine on my treadmill. Here it is below. 

My Walking Routine on My Treadmill at Home (Mostly for Winters)


So here are the changes I made to make my 10,000 steps a day much more enjoyable. I created a flexible schedule for the week. So rather than doing 10,000 steps a day, I would monitor my body, and if it was feeling good, I would increase my steps, but if it was feeling sore, I would just decrease my steps. 

7000+ - 10,000+ a Day
or
Easy Days - Feel Good days

Since I'm in a flexible range now I can increase my steps past 10,000 steps a day. And, walk seven days a week. 

Related



Of course, I'm not a professional. Please talk to your local experts before doing any physical activities. 

Updates

January 4, 2021

Hi all, I just wanted to add. The data you're seeing in the first video above is coming from my Google Fit. And that is when I had my phone with me as I was walking, I did not have any device hooked up at this time.

I will have a Fitbit Inspire 2 activity tracker down the road. I will be trying it out. Check out this blog post. My Fitbit INspire 2 Activity Tracker Journey.

Happy walking,

Hi all, I just purchased an activity tracker to monitor my step count. I talk about this in the video below.