Ten thousand steps

December 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

I used to walk, and then I took to the bike for a year and a half. Cycling, primarily to get around, and for exercise too. The “walker” is more vulnerable than the ”biker”. The walker bumps into people and “chats”. Bad for the unpublished writer. You have work to get back to, but it is rather difficult to allude to the novel. After all, it is not work work: that is, paid work. If you are not being paid for what you do, it seems rather daring to suggest that it is work.

For me, one of the great freedoms of the bicycle was sailing past people who might otherwise prevent me from “working”. Also more time, would mean that more work was done. But things did not turn out that way. The bike ride was not long enough to constitute an exercise stint, so I had to supplement the cycling with the rebounder (a mini trampoline). Then there was another difficulty: it was hard to find the time for 30 minutes on a trampoline. Or was it willpower?

So this year, September, it was back to walking. PG Wodehouse went on a long walk every day. Maybe my ideas would improve. Then the signs kept pointing to walking. A friend wrote to me, telling me her doctor had told her to walk 10,000 steps a day. A new acquaintance told me that we think best when we walk. Then I bought The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds and the conclusion is irresistible: walking is where it is at.

I should qualify that statement. “Walking is where it is at”, if you want to do only moderate exercise, and keep on doing moderate exercise. We all know how fatal it is to be ambitious about exercise. And, of course, we will not always be willing to do our moderate exercise.

It takes time to walk 10,000 steps, and some 1,000 steps seem a great deal longer than others. So there’s nothing like recording your steps on a pedometer. We tend to think we are walking more than we are. In The First 20 Minutes, a survey referred to, revealed that most people believe they take more steps a day than they do. They usually take half what they think, two thousand steps, not four thousand.

As for the ideas, have they improved? I wish I knew.

If right now you do very little exercise, why don’t you get off the tube or the bus a few stops earlier, and begin walking your way to health?




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