Keeping track of how far your feet take you each day is good for both body and soul.
Posted in , Jul 28, 2017
With so many different ways to keep track of our daily steps these days, I recently decided it was time to join the party. Armed with my tracker—first with a free app built into my phone, then using a wearable fitness band—I started paying attention to my step count. I set a daily goal of 10,000 steps, and put one foot in front of the other.
After a few days, I realized there was more to this process than physical fitness. The simple practice of being mindful of how far my feet were taking me each day prompted me to ask a meaningful daily question:
Where am I going today?
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
On the physical front, it’s easy to answer that question. After all, you don’t have to have a FitBit or other wearable technology to keep track of your steps—a simple pedometer, purchased online or in a store, is very low-cost. And the health benefits of walking are numerous, in cardiovascular, muscular, digestive and even emotional categories.
There’s nothing inherently healthful about the “10,000 steps” daily goal, but it’s a good baseline to shoot for. Experts believe that with walking, more is more—if 10,000 steps is a challenge for you, set that as a goal. If you’re fit and ready for more, raise the goal to 15,000 steps. If you’re able to hit 5,000 steps but do so at a brisk pace to get your heart pumping, that might even be better for your health than 10,000 meandering steps.
There are so many ways to go after extra steps. To offer just a few examples:
Park in the far end of the parking lot.
“Forget” (or actually forget!) a few things upstairs before you leave the house.
Walk down each aisle at the grocery store.
But what about the other meaning of that question: Where am I going today? Take a moment to consider your steps in a more metaphysical sense. Give thanks for the feet that carry you from here to there, for the strength that keeps you moving, and for the courage you show every time you try to travel through the world a little bit farther today than you did yesterday.