Now, About Those 10,000 Steps

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

You’ve probably heard about the fitness regimen that challenges you to walk 10,000 steps each and every day. The practice is the key to better health and a long life, the experts claim.

According to one website I saw, walking 10,000 steps every day: helps you to get in shape and lose weight; decreases hypertension and stress; improves balance and endurance; increases sexual desire and satisfaction; slows mental decline; improves mood and battles depression; reduces fatigue; and makes you smarter.

Wow – with all of that, how can you not start walking more?

Now, bless me reader for I have sinned: I don’t walk 10,000 steps every day. Not even close. According to the little device on my phone, during the last month I’ve averaged only 2,521 steps each day. Pathetic, isn’t it? But hey, I spend most of my time sitting – in my office or in my car, or at home, praying, reading or watching TV. Then I go to bed. When would I walk?

But, for our purposes, there’s a more interesting question. Those 10,000 steps you’re walking – where do they take you?

Do they take you to your parish church to attend Sunday Mass, or to go to Confession? Do they take you to a hospital or nursing home to visit someone who is ill? Do they take you on a walk with a close friend who needs to share some personal problems? Do they take you on an organized march that’s raising funds for charity? Do they take you to a park or a beach where you revel in the goodness of God’s creation? Do they take you on a leisurely stroll while you say the Holy Rosary and meditate on the life of Jesus and Mary? Do they take you on a pilgrimage to a sacred shrine, where you retreat, pray and renew your faith?

The two disciples were walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus – a lot more than 10,000 steps – when “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” And they came to recognize Jesus, in the scriptures he explained to them, and in the breaking of the bread they shared. (Lk 24: 13-35)

Your walking, too, can be more than healthy exercise. It can be a time in which you enrich your life, do good things, and perhaps, even run into Jesus.

Something to think about: Walking can be good, for both body and soul.