80 Days Into the Personal Step Challenge

Nearly 500 Miles and a Million Steps

Moving to the extent possible should be a goal for all of us, particularly for so many of my Boomer and Generation X and Millennial colleagues.  Why?  I don’t have to be a physician to know that movement is good for us all.  The sedentary work lifestyles of many of my business and professional friends simply exacerbate the need to work some movement into our lives.  Too many of us allow creeping weight gain over many years and find ourselves heavier than we’d like and with some health issues.

I’ve written about step challenges before.  Here’s an example.  And pickleball for movement. And using a Fitbit watch or device to record steps.  All these posts convey the same message.  Movement is important.

A number of years ago, I trained for a marathon with a running coach.  His main message to his mostly older and professional or business clients was simple: running a marathon is okay, but it is more important to move regularly.  His memorable expression was “FOG.”  FOG meant “feet on the ground” – and moving.  Good advice!

A Challenging Day for the Step Challenge

As of yesterday, I had recorded 79 consecutive days of 10,000 or more steps and 5.0 or more miles of walking or any other kind of movement that my Fitbit Versa 2 watch records as steps. I’ve said before that I like the Fitbit Versa 2 Special Edition.  Try it.  I get no commission!

This morning, I had one of those procedures that is a rite of passage for those of us of a certain age.  My thinking leading up to today was that my current string of walking days might end at 79 days, particularly after fasting yesterday and drinking a magic elixir last night.

But after the trip to the surgery center and a good breakfast at Another Broken Egg, I had about 1,800 steps just getting around this morning.

My instructions on leaving the surgery center were: 1) no driving, 2) no major financial decisions, 3) something I don’t remember but have not violated, and 4) something about alcohol.  There were no instructions about not walking!

After a good long nap, I was feeling pretty good, so I took a slow walk in the neighborhood.  I like to walk at a faster pace, or play pickleball or handball, but I just went slowly, stopping to talk with folks in the neighborhood, and just taking my time.  When I got back to the house 45 minutes later, I looked at my watch and I had 6,100 steps.  And I felt fine.

At that point, I thought I might make the step challenge today. I sat around in the house for a couple of hours and read a bit. When done, I still felt pretty good, so I took another slow walk along the same route in my neighborhood.  I then came back inside to rest and think about things.  Upon looking at my watch, I have  10,582 steps and 4.97 miles.  I’ll hit 5 miles walking to the kitchen for dinner!  I did.

What Does the Challenge Mean?

So now my step challenge has extended to 80 days.  I can tell you that there were many days when the trip could have ended along the way.  However, like so many other areas of life, we can only succeed in movement (or enough movement) if we are intentional about it.

I’m comfortable in the knowledge that this run of consecutive days will end one day.  Something will happen.  I’ll have a sore foot or back, I’ll be travelling and unable to walk, but something will happen.  And that’s okay.  What I know after 80 days is that on any given day, if I’m intentional, I can walk 5 miles and more than 10,000 steps.

Some of the benefits for me (and for most of us) of a regular movement program include, and I’m speaking from personal experience only:

  1. Movement helps with weight control  Weight is a function of calories taken in and calories expended.  The more we walk, the easier it is to maintain or to lose weight.  I first figured this out after gaining about 30 pounds during my first semester of college!
  2. Movement helps with cholesterol control.  At a physical a couple of years, my ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (bad cholesterol) was not really okay, at the high end of the “normal” range.  My wife’s opinion was that the risk of stroke was too high at those levels, and she encouraged me to be more regular with exercise.   After some reading I haven’t found much of anything else that helps manage cholesterol.  That was two years ago after a period where I had not been as active as normal for  too long.  In my recent physical, that ratio improved markedly and is half the prior level and well within normal range.
  3.  Regular movement is good for mental health.  Good physical conditioning contributes to good mental health and the ability to maintain a good attitude towards life.  At least, this is true for me.
  4. Regular movement is good for controlling blood pressure.  Many of my friends and colleagues have hypertension to one degree or another.  I can only speak for myself.  Regular movement and exercise contribute to maintaining my blood pressure at acceptable levels. Once again, my wife gave me this advice.
  5. Regular movement helps maintain lower heart rate levels.  A year ago, my resting heart rate was in the 75 beats per minute range.  That same average for the last week is 66 beats per minute.

There are many other benefits that researchers (Mayo Clinic) talk about, but those five are good enough for me. Oh, and I’m sure that regular movement personally can’t hurt the value of your business!  So I have related this post to business valuation after all.

Interestingly, my doctors almost never ask about my exercise habits.  Do yours?  They certainly should consider this important factor in their diagnoses, analyses, and recommendations.  That’s my professional medical opinion!  I learned about the benefits of exercise in controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and pulse from my wife (a well-educated health professional) and from personal reading and experience.

I learned about the benefit of exercise in controlling weight and attitude from common sense and personal experience.  Hopefully, the sharing of these experiences will be of interest and benefit to readers.

The Results of 80 Days of Movement

Perhaps I exaggerated just a bit in the title, but the actual results of 80 consecutive movement are shown below:

80 Days Steps

By actual count, I walked 468 mile-equivalents in the last 80 days, and I’ll call it, with a little bit of rounding, a million steps.  Over 468 miles, I have averaged 2,126 steps per mile.  That accounts for longer steps while walking intensely (and pickleball and handball) and shorter steps in other activities.

All I can say, is that if you are in a program of regular personal movement, keep it up!  If you need to begin, don’t over do things at the outset.  Build up over a period of time.

Finally, if you want to talk about any matter related to business valuation, please do give me a call (901-685-2120) or email (mercerc@mercercapital.com).

In the meantime, be well!



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One thought on “80 Days Into the Personal Step Challenge

  1. Chris, Stay strong; stay committed…..and I hope your colonoscopy comes back with a clean report! 🙂
    From a fellow traveler of “that certain age”!