Walkies! Walkies!

3 Jan

As the owner of two big dogs, I walk a lot and pick up a lot of poo, but I won’t get into that because it is gross.  As part of the Body-Mind-Spirit project, I have a goal for this month to walk.  Like, a lot.  This endeavor has been quite easy to take on these last few days as Seattle is currently experiencing oddly sunny and cold weather.  No complaints here.

According to research that seems to be cited all over, including internet articles and a recent health workshop I attended, the average person takes about 5,000 steps per day.  One is considered to have a sedentary lifestyle if they take fewer than 5,000 steps.  I purchased a pedometer about a month ago and began tracking my steps each day. If I take the dogs on a short walk and then went about the day doing regular things, I easily hit 5,000 steps.  I’ve been trying to gradually increase my steps, taking the dogs on longer walks, convincing myself to park farther away from places when I drive, wandering around the grocery store aimlessly and other such things.  Recently I’ve been getting more like 8,000 or even 10,000 steps per day.  My goal is to walk about 10,000 steps each day, a number often recommended as ideal for a daily walking routine.  This number came about from a Japanese national movement to promote walking and also the use of pedometers (good marketing, right?).  There are varying views to how much this helps, for instance, some health professionals recommend a brisk but shorter walk over these longer walks.   But when it comes down to it- it is exercise and outside time and a lot more of it than I was getting before.

10,000 steps:

  • is about 5 miles, depending on the stride of the walker. 
  • can burn about 2,000-2,500 extra calories per week.
  • means about 1-2 hours of outside time, depending on the speed of the walker.
  • can meet the Surgeon General’s recommendation to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days a week.
walking

walkies, walkies, walkies

So all of these things are just good: good for health, good for well-being, good for my dogs, etc.  Plus?  I LIKE walking.  Unlike weightlifting, hot yoga, basketball, Jackie Warner videos and many of the other fitness approaches out there, I actually enjoy walking. I like being outside.  I like spending time with my dogs.  Seeing how happy they are when I grab their leashes and my sneakers makes ME feel happy.  I’ve found a few routes in the neighborhood that work pretty well.  One route takes us through a large field where I can let Radar off leash and then work with Sasha on her training (she is not allowed off leash unless in a fenced yard).  Today Radar got especially excited while off leash and ran around in figure eights like a spazz.  I’m not sure why he did this, but it was hilarious!  Plus, Sasha did great with her training.

"Oh yes!  We would love to go on a walk!"

“Oh yes! We would love to go on a walk!” (and this isn’t even instagram, it is just a really bad photograph)

My yoga instructor once recommended that for good health, all you really need to do is eat well, do yoga every day and walk every day.  I found that a bit mind boggling, living in a very active city where it seems everyone is training for a marathon or learning how to be a mountaineer.  But she has a point.  Yoga and walking are simple.  You can do them everywhere.  They are relaxing.  They will not cause injuries (if done correctly, of course).  That same teacher has recommended to me numerous times over the year to stop running, which I admit I loved hearing because honestly, I don’t really like running and I don’t want to get knee surgery like many of my family members have.  So this whole yoga and walking thing, I think it will work for me.

I’m tracking my steps with a pedometer but unfortunately I’ve already washed it with my clothes on two accidental occasions.  It is still kind of working but sometimes it freezes up and it tells me that the time is h:00.  My husband said “You really need to figure out a way to not wash that thing” and I was like “yeah, I know” so I guess that’s another thing for me to work on.  I’ve found that 10,000 steps is usually 2 long dog walks (about 45 minutes per walk) and a bunch of putzing around throughout the day.  It is pretty motivating to use the pedometer because I love seeing the numbers go up and it gives me the impetus to take some extra steps.

pedometer

This is the exact model I have, but mine has been washed and then spent a few days in a bowl of rice. It will soon be replaced.

Have you ever tracked your steps in this way?  What do you do to move daily?  

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