For 48 consecutive days since early March, I’ve walked more than the recommended 10,000 steps each day. That’s what the pedometer on my phone says. On several days, the step count was over 27,000; that is in the region of 17 km.
Yesterday, however, I walked a whopping 3,400 steps, and every step told me that I really shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on myself. If you live alone and your dog is staring at you pleadingly, glancing at the door and back at the drawer where his leash is kept, well, banjax knee or no banjax knee, you need to get out.
I had a fall this week. In fact, I had two falls within half an hour. The culprit was my shiny-soled mules, which I’ve put on for the first time since last summer in honor of the stunning Easter weather here in Venice, where I’m staying right now.
I was upright for a minute, and then suddenly I went down, the impact on my left knee being immediate and agonizingly obvious. I’m fine, I said – as did you – and kept walking until I was gone, whoops, about 15 minutes later. Once again my left knee was the victim.
The local pharmacist tells me that ice and anti-inflammatories should be a lot better in four or five days. What? Four out of five days without my daily goal steps?
I’ve always been a wanderer; I never thought for a moment that this might not always be the case, that certain obstacles might arise with age. This was a silly case of wrong shoes in the wrong place, but what if it was more than that? What if my mobility was seriously affected for an extended period or even the rest of my life?
Legs are the wheels of the human body, and up to now I’ve taken mine for granted.
However, this week’s setback got me thinking.
Am I a bit obsessed with my running goals? Having already walked more than 20,000 steps on the day of my fall, I was tired when it happened and therefore probably less attuned to the shortcomings of my shoes.
But shouldn’t we also stay fit in old age? And if 10,000 steps is the recommended goal, then obviously there will be additional health benefits for doing even more.
Well, no, as it happens. Sitting here with my leg up and wrapped in ice, I’ve done some research and found that the results of an international study (published in The lancet last month) show an association between daily steps and increased longevity, once people over 60 (like me) hit 6,000 to 8,000 steps there is no further benefit from increasing the number. The health benefits are leveling off; i.e. between 6,000 and 8,000. For adults under 60, it’s 8,000 to 10,000.
So those 27,000 steps a day aren’t improving my prospects, they’re just making me tired and, yes, a little complacent.
With my banjax knee came this wonderful thing called perspective; Time to appreciate what I have and to acknowledge that I might have to stop my gallop a bit.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/two-tumbles-have-made-me-re-evaluate-my-daily-treks-41572200.html Two falls made me re-evaluate my daily hikes