A disabled person tried walking 10,000 steps for 7 days. This is what happened.

Hello beautiful spoonies!

At the time of doing this little experiment I had a fitbit for a little over a month as a means to gather data to hopefully help doctors understand the weird things going on with my heart and sleep/passing out patterns. On August 13th I decided to try walking 10,000 steps per day for shiggles just to see what would happen.

For a little bit of background, for the month leading up to this experiment I had been tracking my typical sleep and movement habits. Usually I do a bit of physical and occupational therapy, some stationary biking, and whatever else I feel like I can do that particular day. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which means I’m constantly in pain from everyday movements because my connective tissue is wayyy too bendy and doesn’t hold my joints in place where they’re supposed to be. I also have cardiogenic syncope where sometimes my blood pressure just decides to drop for reasons unknown (I’m seeing a neurologist on September 28th because the electrophysiologist doesn’t know what to do with me). Oh, and let’s not forget that I also have asthma, vocal cord dysfunction, hypothyroidism, and am currently obese. I really need to stop playing Pokemon with all the health problems. If you’ve watched anything on Greg Doucette’s YouTube channel — I’m what he would probably classify as a Granda Josephine.

So, let’s take a look at some data. Here’s the week before the experiment:

Monday (Aug 9)Tuesday (Aug 10)Wednesday (Aug 11)Thursday (Aug 12)Friday (Aug 6)Saturday (Aug 7)Sunday (Aug 8)
Steps Per Day1,00111,2252,9967,1994,6773,2447,645
Breathing Rate13131312121313
Heart Rate Variability25232623363527
Resting Heart Rate79808282767577
Hours of Sleep5hr 36min8hr 51min7hr 47min7hr 59min6hr 16min8hr 55min7hr 44min
Pass Out?NoYes 1hr 46minNoNoNoNoNo
Previous Week Data

And here’s the week of the experiment:

Monday (Aug 16)Tuesday (Aug 17)Wednesday (Aug 18)Thursday (Aug 19)Friday (Aug 13)Saturday (Aug 14)Sunday (Aug 15)
Steps Per Day11,40411,65411,08710,14110,63811,01310,281
Breathing Rate13131313131212
Heart Rate Variability25212322232925
Resting Heart Rate81838282818081
Hours of Sleep7hr 2min8hr 32min7hr 27min8hr 31min7hr 25min9hr 8min9hr 44min
Pass Out?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo
10,000 Steps Per Day Week Data

When I went into this experiment I was expecting walking to be relatively easy on my body, I probably wouldn’t pass out since I wouldn’t be doing anything too heavy on my muscles, and I would maintain my heart rate variability and resting heart rate.

What really surprised me is that the cardio gains I had made quickly depleted. From just walking I could get my heart rate up a little, but not much. It was above resting but not enough to qualify as a cardio activity. For a frame of reference, the higher the heart rate variability the better and the lower the resting heart rate the better.

During the first couple of days, getting 10,000 steps in was a fun challenge, but that’s about where the fun ended. I can’t really go walking around by myself unless I feel really really good because of my cardiogenic syncope issues. I don’t exactly want to just pass out on the sidewalk and scare the neighbors, so I had to do the vast majority of these steps just around my house. Somewhere around days 2-4 I started noticing my lower back starting to hurt. This could partly be because I don’t wear shoes in my house and partly because I wasn’t doing my physical therapy exercises because I wanted to have an isolated experience. Either way, 0/10 would not recommend. Days 5-7 were both painful and highly annoying, so what did I learn? I really don’t like walking — at least not until I get a treadmill or can go walk outside. Also stationary biking or anything to get my heart rate up more is both much more entertaining to me and surprisingly much more beneficial. I was really surprised at how fast I lost my heart rate and variability progress. If anything, I’ve learned that I probably need to be doing cardio almost every day if I want my body to thrive. I already knew I had to do PT and OT consistently, but now I’m definitely adding cardio into that mix too.

Do I think walking is a bad form of exercise? PSHHHHH NO! It’s a great, low impact way to keep moving/staying active. Walking just won’t be a normal part of my routine because I rarely find joy in it, and it doesn’t help my body as much as other forms of staying active. I’ll still throw it into the mix every now and again, but it’s probably never going to be my main form of exercise. My mother-in-law really enjoys walking and regularly goes on long walks every day. I enjoy going with her, but I don’t enjoy walking on my own like she does. I’m super happy for people who like to walk and benefit from it. It just isn’t a thing for me to do on my own at this time in my life.

Have you ever done some health and wellness experiments just to see what would happen? What’s your favorite form of staying active? Let me know in the comments 💜

Published by Victoria Mendes

I'm just a house-wife trying to cook good meals on a budget.

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