10,000 Steps

May 1, 2009

This week I purchased a pedometer, which tracks my number of steps. The American Heart Association recommends taking 10,000 steps a day for health benefits.

I started thinking about how and why it’s become a challenge for people to find the time to walk.

I thought about my grandfather, my Papa Joe, who died at the age of ninety-nine in fairly good health, when I was sixteen-years-old. Papa Joe came to the United States from Italy in the late 1800s. (Yes, that’s right. I’m a Gen-Xer, and I’m still old enough to have a grandfather who was born in the late 1800s.) My grandfather didn’t drive a car. He walked every day, sometimes to the store or the bakery, and sometimes just to visit neighbors. He kept a garden in the backyard, and maintained rose bushes and a fig tree in his front yard. I can’t help but think his daily activities and functional fitness kept him young.

As much as fast food and convenience stores might save us time in the short term, our modern communities are designed around long commutes. Most houses are built with decks instead of front porches, where neighbors used to congregate and visit and watch their kids play.  Most people don’t plant vegetable gardens in their backyards. Maybe we can all take a cue from the White House, and their new vegetable garden. I look forward to hearing more about the garden’s progress.

In the long term, we may not be saving as much time as we think with convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

According to my pedometer, today I walked 9,046 steps, which is about 90% of my goal. I’m just going to keep taking those steps each day until I reach 10,000.

What steps can we all take today to reach our goals in life?