THERE I am, marching through Glasgow’s Pollok Park in the rain, one eye on the dog, the other on my step counter, when I notice the hound has dropped behind. This is quite annoying because like most middle-aged men I've become mildly obsessed with hitting 10,000 steps a day.

I'm not sure if it's a lockdown thing, or more likely my advancing years but I check my phone for the total step count on all sorts of daily chores.

A walk to Morrisons? That's 2,985 – a bit more if I venture to the frozen foods at the far end of the shop.

A trip to put the bins out? That'll be a nearly 180, though as the bins are only collected once in a blue moon now, it doesn't really add up to much over the course of a year.

Woe betide me if I go upstairs to the toilet and forget my phone – thereby losing 47 precious steps. Never mind the great philosophical question of a tree falling in the forest, if I do 47 steps and the step counter doesn't register them, did I really walk up the stairs at all?

And just to add another layer of doubt to the whole procedure, it turns out the 10,000 step target has no scientific basis and was invented by the marketing department of a Japanese clock company 50 years ago. Still, it's a target. Something to aim for.

The dog isn't interested in my daily steps, though. The reason she has dropped behind is that she has developed a limp. No more running around like a dafty without a care in the world for her today. I walk back towards her, at least gaining a few more steps, and we go back home where she gives me Sad Sam eyes all day and holds up her paw whenever anyone comes near her. It's a pitiful, although I suspect that's the look she is aiming to achieve.

I've had dogs before, and all the waggy-tailed, rumble-tumble, big-eyed joy they bring but there always comes a time when age catches up with them, as it does with us all. The difference is we know we are getting older. We know that life only ends one way and, sadly, we are rarely granted a peaceful exit from this world.

I suppose that's what the counting of steps is all about for us. A vain attempt to hold back those years and to stay fit and healthy, perhaps so we can fit into a slim-sized coffin. Perhaps so folk can stand around at our funerals and say: "He's dead now, of course, but he always did his 10,000 steps, don't you know."

I come downstairs the next morning and the dog is, thankfully, back to her usual self so we head out to the park. I count my steps and worry about work while she runs about like a dafty, as if she hasn't a care in the world. And I suppose she doesn't. There's life in this old dog yet.