Sometimes when we take a step, literally or figuratively, we don’t know where that step will lead
Walking has been a “thing” with me for more than a decade. Before that, I jogged or ran, played handball, and did a variety of things to keep active and some semblance of weight control. When I started walking, I gave up the jarring of running but I did continue to play handball a couple of times per week. While my weight stayed within a reasonable (or not) band, I never did quite lose the weight I thought necessary for more optimal health.
When I began to walk as a specific goal, I acquired the first in a succession of Fitbit devices. I have to admit that wearing a Fitbit caused me to focus on my daily steps and activity. I’ve written previously how just measuring steps helps to focus on opportunities for additional steps (short walks during the day, parking far from entrances, and other hacks).
The year of 2019 was a struggle for my walking and fitness program. On December 31, 2018, a not-so-nice lady entered our gated neighborhood at a rapid rate and turned sharply in front of my wife and me. In the process, she ran her left front tire over my right foot and broke my big toe. The recovery time for walking was pretty slow. So by the end of 2019, I was ready to get back on a regular program.
I recorded my first 10,000 step day on April 3rd of 2019, but was not in position for regular postings at that level. I was on-again, off-again for much of 2019.
On December 15, 2019, I walked more than 5 miles and more than 10,000 steps after a break for a few days. I didn’t think anything about it. But I just kept adding days to the streak.
- At consecutive 50 days, I wrote a post
- At 60 days, I was excited and wrote another post
- At 100 days, I wrote again about the continuing challenge
- At 150 days, I wrote yet again about how the string was continuing
July 1, 2020 will mark the 200th consecutive day of walking (as measured by my Fitbit) at least 10,000 steps per day and at least 5 miles per day. I’ll estimate the results for the day and give a report. I’m fairly confident of actually hitting the goal.
Almost 1,200 miles and 2.5 million steps. 5.9 miles per day and 12,500 steps per day on average. On Day 1, I had no idea there would be a string of 50 or 150 or 200 days. I was just determined to try.
When the pandemic hit in late February and we moved from office to home offices, I was quickly determined to do my best to maintain physical and mental health.
I developed a few “rules” for the pandemic.
- Get at least 10,000 steps and 5 miles per day
- Start the day with a brief exercise routine that got my heart beating and blood circulating and insured that I had about 2,000 steps before breakfast
- Take advantage of available minutes to walk for an extra five or ten or fifteen minutes during the day. Every few hundred steps we take gets us that much closer to our goals
- Go to bed early enough to have a chance at getting 8 hours of sleep. For me this was a touch one
- One plate per meal. My wife is a phenomenal cook, but enough is enough. Limiting food intake is good for weight control and overall health, particularly when the food one is eating is “healthy”
There are a few more little rules, but these are the big ones I developed during the pandemic and leading up to 200 Days.
I can report that, on balance, this string of 200 days has not been particularly difficult. You see, like so many things in life, it can happen only one day at a time. There is no burden about future days in a string. There is only the desire, motivation and conviction to achieve the goal today. Admittedly, there were perhaps a half dozen days where I could have let the string die. But the way I dealt with those days was to muster enough focus to get 10,000 steps on each of those days.
Now let me say this. I’m older and I don’t have kids who are making demands on me. My wife is understanding of my need to move, and she gets 10,000 or more steps almost every day. We all have to adapt our physical and mental fitness goals to the circumstances of our lives. Actual results may vary. But we all have to try.
What are the physical and mental results of this 200 day string of movement?
- I feel better than at the beginning
- My cholesterol went from marginally okay on the high side to solidly in the good range (and the “good” cholestrol is good)
- My blood pressure is better
- My weight is at a ten year low (not quite to my goal, but within less than two pounds)
- I feel less stress each day – at least most days
- And I now have a full head of hair for the first time in decades – well, not! 😊
Will the string continue? As I said in an earlier post, I don’t feel pressure to get 10,000 steps per day, I just want to. Will there come a day when I can’t. That’s likely. That could result from an injury or an illness or an attitude. Will I be devastated when the string ends? I don’t think so. I think I’ll just be challenged to start anew.
And a huge amount of my steps are gained when playing pickleball, but that’s another story.
I hope this walk down memory lane is helpful as you think about your goals to maintain physical and mental fitness. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, be well!