10,000 is a tough number to reach.
Do a Google search for 10K a day, or 10,000 steps a day, and a multitude of websites will pop up with information, training plans and the benefits of movement. It would seem that 10K is the magic number (about 5 miles) for the average person to shoot for.
So here's where my eye-opener came in: Yesterday, I only managed to log in about 7500 steps. And that was WITH bypassing the subway and walking from midtown manhattan to the lower east side for a meeting. Rather than hitting the 5 mile mark, I was just shy of 3 miles. Verdict: everyday life just doesn't cut it. In order to meet the 10K most people (unless you're a waitress, nurse, etc) will have to make a concerted effort to add more activity into their daily routine in order to meet their goal.
And the 10K is just a start. It's a number to use a jumping point, a number for weight and fitness management. The recommendation is that once you reach and maintain 10K a day you adjust that number as neccessary in order to affect the change you desire. That means that if, at 10K, you are gaining weight (or holding steady if your goal is to lose weight)- add more steps. Just as with any exercise program, the idea is to ramp up slowly - adding no more than say, 500-1000 steps per day to your average daily number.
Granted, in the midst of marathon training you (and I) exceed these recommendations. But it's a great thing to keep in mind for when you're not firmly ensconced in a training cycle. If you're anything like me, without a solid training plan in place you tend to do a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a whole lot of nothing. Instead, make a game of figuring out your magic number. How many steps a day (or an equivalent movement) do you need to stay fit, healthy and sane? How do your numbers stack up during your average daily routine? How many ways can you increase that total without going to the gym? For you and I, the gym is an easy solution. But during the off season let's concentrate on including our families - our significant others, our pets, and our friends - the one's we neglect when that goal race is in our sights.
Being physically fit isn't going to the gym, it's going about your life. That's what makes it sustainable.