Steps to success!

When it comes to exercise I’m a strong advocate for both resistance and cardiovascular training to be done frequently and consistently, and usually the harder, heavier, and more intense it is the better I think it is. However, over the last few years, I have come to realise that there is also a place and a need for the more easy, more relaxing, less intense exercise in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think low-intensity activity should detract or divert attention away from the many, many physical health benefits of hard, higher-intensity exercise which are well-researched, well-known and well-documented (ref, ref). But when it comes to improving our general wellness and mental health I have found a new love for lower-intensity more easy-going exercise.

Lockdown Mojo Loss

So this all came about at the beginning of the first COVID lockdown when I found my motivation and dedication to engage in my regular higher-intensity exercise was slipping. Without knowing it I soon came to realise that I went to the gym to help get my higher-intensity training done. It turns out that I actually love doing this kind of exercise only in the environment of a gym with all its sounds, smells and atmosphere, and trying to do it at home just wasn’t the same, and so I found it harder to get shit done. Basically, I had a lockdown exercise mojo loss.

Now some of you maybe think well you just need to drink a cup of concrete Meakins and get ya head down and get that shit done. And I agree, I did but I also realised that I need some help and support to do this and so I reached out to a personal trainer friend of mine called Louis Calvert to help me with some online coaching and accountability.

Now part of Louis grand plan for me was to start to focus on the number of steps per day I took, something that I have never done before, and thought I didn’t need to being a fit healthy and highly active physiotherapist on the go all the day. To begin with Louis set me a daily target of 8000 steps a day to achieve something I thought was very easy to do and if I’m being honest a little bit insulting to be asked to do.

So at first, I was very reluctant to do it and actually said to Louis that I would rather run 8000 steps per day than walk them. My reasoning for this was I thought walking for the sake of walking was boring, daft and a complete waste of time. My mentality was back then if you have time to go for a walk, go for a run or a workout instead.

However, Louis convinced me to give it a go for a while, particularly when he showed me that my average daily step count for the last week was only around 3000 steps something that took me by surprise. So slightly embarrassed I relented and began to focus on trying to achieve 8000 steps per day on top of my other resistance and cardio training.

Hated it

And as predicted, I hated it, finding it dull and boring and was literally watching my step counter slowly, painfully, creep up to its target each day. I also got annoyed with walking ‘interfering’ with my other usual daily activities making me get up an extra 45 minutes earlier than usual to go and get a few thousand steps in before work, going for a walk during my lunch break, or walking after I’ve done a workout or got back from work.

However, after about 6 weeks something really strange started to happen, I started to find I began to look forward to my walks and I actually increased my daily step target to 10,000, and then 12,000 steps a day.

I found I was enjoying these calm moments in the early morning before everyone else was up. I loved watching the sunrise in the peace and quiet before the chaos of life kicked in for the day, I became fond of the feeling of walking on a cold misty morning. I started to relish my lunchtime walks between clinics to unwind and decompress from the stress of work, and even when it was raining or dark I found the sound of my footsteps in the puddles and mud almost soothing and cathartic.

Without knowing it a few months of walking regularly and I had become a walking addict. I start to find myself going for small short walks whenever and wherever I could.

Slower Mind

I also started to notice some other surprising benefits from all this walking, the main one was my mind slowed down. Now this may not sound like much of a benefit, but for me, with my mind and thoughts often rushing around at 100mph and feeling stressed and jumbled a lot, I felt calmer, more relaxed, and a lot more ‘I don’t really give that much of a shit’ since walking every day

I didn’t think that I was that uptight or stressed but after my mind calmed I realsied that I do have a tendency for speaking before thinking, deliberating too much on stupid stuff, and giving too much of a shit about things and people that don’t really matter.

I found walking more has given me more time to think and organise my thoughts better and I am in a much calmer and stress-free place than I’m used to, which allows me a better perspective on things. My 10 to 12,000 steps a day have been what many others call ‘taking a deep breath and counting to 10’, I’ve just realised that I need to count to 10,000.


But it’s not just psychological and mental health benefits that I’ve noticed since walking daily, there have been some rather surprising physical ones as well. First of all my stamina on my usual long Sunday runs has improved, which may also be due to my increased resistance training. But I do think spending an extra 90-120mins a day every day on my feet has helped reduce the tired fatigued and heavy feeling I used to get in my legs on my long runs.

I have also lost a lot of body fat since walking, which again has surprised me and is no doubt mostly due to my lower-calorie diet, higher levels of resistance training, and a new love for jumping rope. But the daily walking has, I’m sure helped place me in a calorie deficit, burning fat, and stopped me stuffing my face unnecessarily as it now occupies a lot of my spare time.

me 6 months apart


So I am converted when it comes to daily walking and have started to promote it more, to more. Although many talk about reaching the magical 10,000 steps a day target as a holy grail, I don’t actually think it needs to be that much for more many people. The 10,000-step target first became popular in Japan after a pedometer was launched there called Menpo-Kei which when translated literally means the 10,000 steps meter (ref).

However, research has shown that when it comes to walking, some is always better than none, and increasing the number of steps by as little as an extra 1000 steps can have positive benefits for a lot of sedentary people (ref). In fact there have been some recommendations for achieving just 5000 steps a day for most as this can have some pretty big changes in sedentary individuals’ health status (ref).

Also, a recent study has shown that when it comes to steps more does not automatically equal better, with any extra steps taken above 10,000 a day not shown to have much significant impact on health or mortalilty (ref).


So in summary I hope my experiences may have motivated you to consider walking more. If like me you can’t see the point or the benefit please just give it a go for 6 weeks and I bet that you will start to see and feel the change.

My tips are try to make time in your life to walk intentionally every day, fitting it in when and where ever you can, don’t worry too much about step targets, but do get a step tracker to get an idea of how far you’re going. My other tips is to get some comfortable shoes, a warm waterproof coat, and finally relax and enjoy it. Don’t think about rushing to get your walk done, take it at a comfortable pace, stop now and then to look around you and take in the scenery and start to enjoy the time you have walking.

Happy walking





    • I enjoyed reading this Adam – I find myself in a similar mindset over the last few months and I miss the gym and struggle
      To self motivate with home exercise. I’m going to give
      It 6 wks and, well, let’s see!

  1. Hopefully you will give Tai chi or qi gong the same fair trial to discover experientially the many benefits of training / practicing internal martial arts ?

Comments are closed.

Related news