Today Marks 250 Days of Walking Five Miles per Day and 183 Days of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Audobon Park, Memphis, TN
Audobon Park, Memphis, TN

It started before the pandemic.  Late last year, after ending a period of excessive travel and work, I decided to get back into the habit of daily walking.  It wasn’t a momentous decision, just a little one.  So I began to walk a minimum of five miles each day.  The nominal goal is 10,000 steps, but it takes me, on average, a bit more steps to go five miles.  Your mileage may vary.

The stock market recognized the pandemic beginning February 20, 2020.  I was 68 days into my new habit.  Mercer Capital went virtual on March 16, 2020 (day 93).  On March 23, 2020, I posted about reaching 100 days in what I called my step challenge.  On May 14, 2020, I posted about reaching 150 days in the challenge, and on July 1, 2020, I posted about reaching 200 days in the challenge.

Today is the 183rd day since the market crash beginning February 20th, and I am posting about reaching 250 days in the challenge to build a lasting habit.  A few statistics after 250 days of walking every day:

  • 3.15 million steps (as logged by my trusty Fitbit Versa 2)
  • 1,474 miles (I’m estimating the rest of today!)
  • 12,582 steps per day on average
  • 5.9 miles per day on average
  • 2,128 steps per mile on average

What have I learned as a result of these past 250 days?  At first, it was difficult to work in five miles each day.  Many days early on, I would end the work day with only two or three thousand steps, and then I’d have to take a long walk in the evening, which was not always convenient, to reach the five mile goal.  Over time I’ve learned to go to bed earlier, on average.  That means I am able to wake up between 6 and 6:30am most days and take a two mile or so walk before breakfast.  It makes for a great start of each day.

I’ve learned to get up during the day and walk a bit.  Five minutes here and five minutes there, it’s not only refreshing, but the steps add up.  At lunch, I normally take a 10-15 minute walk, and then, walk some in the afternoon.  By early afternoon, I have normally accumulated seven thousand steps or more.  From there, it takes another walk in Audobon Park near my house, or a few games of pickleball.  The bottom line is that I have learned to manage my day in a way that the goal happens most of the time.  Occasionally, I have to gut things out late in the day, but very seldom.

I’ve also learned that walking is a way to deal with the stress of the pandemic.  Walking time is a great time to think about anything other than work or isolation or wondering how long this unprecedented period will last.  I’ve learned that I sleep better when I walk on a sustained basis.  Yes, my Fitbit Versa 2 monitors that as well.

The length of this step challenge, together with talking with friends, has led me to break out of the short term view I had of the pandemic from the start.  When we went virtual in mid-March, I was thinking that we would be back to normal by Memorial Day.  When that didn’t happen, I shifted to thinking in terms of Labor Day.  Well, that is not going to happen either.  About two weeks ago, I had the realization that the pandemic, in some form, will likely go on for a year or more – from now, not from the start.

That realization for me and others is beginning to impact how I think about what I do each day, and it is impacting how we are approaching the future at Mercer Capital.  I can tell you that recognizing the long-term nature of this COVID-19 thing has relieved me of the short-term angst, and almost dread, that I felt when I was hoping for a short-term solution.

“They” say that walking is good for us.  I believe it.  I encourage everyone who is able to begin to be conscious about walking on a regular basis.  Five miles may not be your goal.  Try for two miles or one mile to start.  I’ve learned one more thing from these 250 days – no one will do the walking for me.  I just have to get up and do it.  I had a running instructor years ago whose mantra was “FOG.”  That’s feet on the ground and moving!

All of this walking must be good for me.  I went to the dentist yesterday and had a no-cavity checkup!

Hope you are healthy and safe during this very strange period in our lives. Be well!


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