Friday, August 1, 2008

And we're walking... and we're walking...

My work recently provided me with one of these bad boys:
All I had to do was fill out a form saying I was willing to join the new "walking club" and use the pedometer. No obligation. Just the agreement that I would give it back if I don't use it.

Let's just say that when I received it, I was very impressed. It retails for about $60, so I'm told. It has a place where you enter the time. Then it has a place where you enter your weight. It also has you measure how long your stride is and enter that. It stores up to 7 days of steps at a time, resetting to zero at midnight every night. It even appears, as I just noticed right now, to tell you how far you've walked and how many calories you burn. Then you can scroll through previous days to see how your current day compares to your previous days. You see a USB cord in the picture because you can go online and download your information to track your progress and set walking goals based on how many steps you're actually taking. This thing is high tech and yet very easy to use.

So I have been obsessed with measuring how many steps I've been taking since I got it. I check out where I'm at often. Now, I didn't say that I have changed my habits to take more steps, but I am now fully aware of just how little I do walk. In fact, I can go a whole day, like yesterday (my day off) without walking a mile (less than 2000 steps). Yikes. Then again, even when I do work, if I don't get out of the house, I don't necessarily walk much then, as my office is less than 50 steps away.

Today I got a wild hair up my butt (not literally) and decided to walk to the gym. That is crazy thinking right there, I know! At least for someone as unfit as me. I mean, I made it through my first month at Curves and even got a little reward for going at least 3 days a week every week, so I'm getting better, but I'm still far from where I want and need to be. The directions from MapQuest puts the gym at about 1.2 miles away taking the shortest route, and I figure the walk there for me today was just about that much. Not a big deal. I started off with just over 900 steps in for the day and motivated that I could hit (or at least come closer than I have previously this week) my 10,000 recommended steps today. But when I made it maybe a little less than 1/3 of the way, I almost turned back to get my car. I'm so lazy sometimes! I stopped myself from turning back and trudged up the hill and along the route to the gym.

It felt like it took forever, but as I thought back to the days when I used to have to "run" a 15-minute mile in gym, I remembered that you could walk most of it at a brisk pace and then jog only a short amount and make it in that time easily. So I looked at the handy pedometer clock and realized I'd only been walking 10-15 minutes. I had plenty of time to get to Curves before the last workout started.

Once I arrived, I felt so proud of myself for making it without huffing and puffing or getting hit by a car or bicyclist or other aggressive pedestrian. In fact, I briefly wished I had brought my wallet so I could treat myself to Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins so conveniently located near the gym. But no sense on dwelling on what I couldn't have, so I looked at my pedometer (close to 3900 steps at that point) and then worked out-- and worked out hard.

I typically burn from the mid-to-high-400's calories each workout, and a few times have broken the 500 calorie mark. I figure that's not bad, considering it's only about a 30 minute workout. Today was no exception to that achievement, even though I did feel a little bit more worn out during the circuit because of my brisk(ish) walk to the gym. I drank plenty of water before and after working out, checked out my pedometer (approximately 5000 steps) and then I headed home.

Maybe it was because I didn't have to walk uphill this time, or maybe it was because I didn't reward myself with a fattening and yet delicious ice cream treat after working out, but the walk home seemed to go more smoothly, quickly, and easily. I even stopped at the small park near my house and stared at the water and the ducks who were swimming and then waddling so boldly toward my direction while my thighs and calves tingled from the uncommon use. Then I headed home and sat down, away from my kitchen so I wouldn't blow that workout by eating homemade cookies or ice cream.

I'm at 8484 steps right now, and I do think I could possibly reach my goal today. I'm even thinking I might walk to the gym again at least once a week, although I might save those walking trips for when I'm really wanting Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins.

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