How I started walking 10,000 steps every day

Walking 10k every day is good for you

Exercise is so important, for mindfulness and for our physical and mental wellbeing. It can be really hard though: establishing a routine of going for a daily jog or cycle or swim is unbelievably tough. So, I really recommend walking, especially to those who find vigorous exercise a challenge. What I really recommend is aiming to get 10,000 steps a day. There are dozens of pedometer apps you can get on your phone, and all of them will have the goal pre-set at getting that 10k. It becomes something of a game, I know I’ve got into the habit of checking the app I use (pacer) to see if I’ve reached the magic 10k. It really does motivate you, and walking is a great way to be in the moment and take note of the world around you. When I walk I noticed the blue sky and the green grass and the trees and my own emotions and reaction to the world around me.

Another reason that I think that walking is fantastic is that it allows you to take some time out of your busy life and just focus on the now, and think for a bit. I almost always come up with new ideas and solutions to problems I’ve been having while on my daily walk. It’s funny: going for a walk can allow you to come up for a solution to a problem you’ve been working on all day. They say that Einstein came up with some of his greatest work while doing a mundane job at the patent office, and I think something similar applies to me for walking. I can spend all day working on a task and then finally I’ll come up with the answer when I’m no longer working on it.

The way to start getting 10,000 steps is pretty simple: aim low. Start using your pedometer and see what your average is. If it’s 1000, that’s totally fine. It doesn’t much matter, the point is that you want to see what kind of numbers you’re hitting without putting any effort in. Then, try to increase the number of steps you take. Pretty obvious, right? Walk to work instead of driving. Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest. Walk to the bar instead of getting the train. These small, simple changes will allow you to rack up the steps. Of course, the big thing is making the conscious decision to go for a long walk. Go to the most beautiful part of your city and just take in your environment. Be mindful of where you are and the people around you and the sounds you hear. Listen to music if you’d like, or put on an audiobook. I’ve read that Stephen Fry lost a load of weight by walking around and listening to audiobooks for hours on end. I’ve also read that David Mitchell became much healthier by walking around, which he was suggested to do in order to help with his back pain.

Walking 10,000 steps eventually becomes a pleasure, not a chore. I find it difficult to have a day without my 10,0000 steps. Downloading a pedometer on my iPhone and counting my steps was one of the best decisions I ever made.

How exercise promotes mindfulness

Exercise is a great way to promote mindfulness

Exercise. Urgh. We all know it’s good for us, and most of us really don’t like it. It’s a bit like mindfulness, in a way. At first. We’re all beginning to gradually accept that mindfulness and meditation are good for us too, but that doesn’t stop most of us from trying to get out of doing it. Something I’ve noticed is that, while you’re exercising, it’s pretty easy to be mindful. Focusing on the breath and the body becomes a lot easier when you’re quickly losing your breath and your heartrate is going into overdrive.

Different types of exercise aid mindfulness in different ways. When you’re swimming, it becomes quite simple to notice the feeling of the water on your body, and notice the escalated pulse, and experience the smells and sounds of the pool. Playing football lets you focus on the green of the grass and the feeling of the wind in your hair as you run. Exercise, in its own way, is one of the best times at which you can be mindful. And combining exercise and mindfulness is a sure-fire way to get a huge dopamine boost and feel good about yourself.

Another advantage of exercise as a form of mindfulness is that it isn’t impossibly difficult to incorporate exercise into your everyday life, which means that mindfulness is incorporated into your everyday life by proxy. If you cycle to work or school every day, and you’re able to mindfully cycle and be aware of the feelings in your body and the road ahead of you, you’ve found a simple way to add mindfulness into your life every single day. I’ve written before a list of how to incorporate mindfulness into your life every day and why it’s so important, and exercise would make a fine addition to that list.

One thing I used to do was do my daily workout, and then have a meditation session directly afterwards. The reason that this came so easily to me was because, while exercising, I was already hyper aware of the experience and the present moment, and so meditation directly afterwards felt like a natural continuation of that. When you have just woken up or whatever and go directly into a meditation session, it can often feel like you’ve gone straight from one thing (sleep, work, etc.) and into a completely different thing. Meditation doesn’t feel like much else, but I do think that when you’re exercising you do get some of that same feeling that you get from meditation and mindfulness, especially if you’re making a conscious effort to exercise mindfully.

Exercising is fantastic. It makes you feel great, it makes you healthier, and it makes you look better. There is nothing bad I can say about adding exercise to your daily routine. But if you’re able to combine that exercise with mindfulness, either by exercising mindfully or by making a meditation session the thing you become used to doing after taking up your exercise, the benefits of exercise will be multiplied.