Framing the Dialogue

One Million Steps

Sometime in the afternoon of April 27, 2012 I achieved a milestone albeit a couple of weeks later than I had hoped. On January 1 I started a program to increase the number of steps that I took each day with an ultimate goal of getting 10,000 steps a day. Starting a walking program in January in Pittsburgh probably was not the easiest thing, but I had to start somewhere and now that it is hotter I am glad that I got that start. I am, unfortunately, a sweater and this may restrict how much walking I do on my lunch break unless my co-workers don’t mind a sweaty heap nearby.

Ten thousand steps sounded like a lot to me and before I officially started the program I wore the pedometer to get an idea of what I normally did which was between two and three thousand steps a day. I would be essentially quadrupling the number of steps that I took each day. I set up reasonable goals of five thousand per day for the first month then 6,500, then 8,000, 9,000 and 10,000 for May.

Initially it was hard as I had to change many habits to increase my steps. Instead of reading the paper before work I walked. I walked at lunch. I walked in the evenings. I parked further away when I went to places. A food run to Costco became a stroll up and down and across every isle. By the way while this is a good way to get some exercise it is also a great way to spend more money as I impulse purchased many things. I am still not sure what to do with 75 Sharpie pens. I got a really good deal!

I set a fairly aggressive plan and I can remember my first 10,000 step day. I felt tired, sore, and exhausted in a good way. But I realized that I was being too aggressive and adjusted my schedule to push out the 10,000 step goal to May as I listed above. I found myself doing much better and in March I averaged over 10,000 steps. I didn’t hit that mark every day, but I did get over 18,000 one day and while I was tired I also felt good.

Typical for me since I had some success I pushed it hence my post A Walk Near the Woods.  I did nearly 20,000 steps that day and only could painfully do 2,300 the next. That set back sucked, but it there is a benefit to being married to a Physical Therapist and she gave me some exercises that helped though I only took Advil for a day and never iced my knee (she doesn’t read my blog so there is no chance that she’ll find out). I still stretch and started building back up. I started hitting my stride again until my Mom was taken to the hospital at the end of April prompting my post Stat Not.  Funny how life interrupts. By the way my Mom is doing fine and got back home this weekend.

Besides the health benefits I have discovered some new worlds. Okay not worlds, but little tidbits of life. I take my morning walks near my office and some of the neighbors have started waving to me as they make their way to work. I’ve seen more rabbits than I can count. I’ve seen startling dawn views of my city and froze parts of my body one doesn’t want to freeze. I’ve talked to neighbors that I had only waved to and met some that I didn’t even know.

One of my most brief and interesting was when I had an encounter with the largest Doberman Pinscher that I have ever seen. I’d like to say it was the size of a horse, but it really wasn’t, but she was big. It was close enough for me to see gender clearly. I was walking along a trail behind her house and it was around 6:30 am. Her owner must have left the back door open and she trotted out as I passed her house (see how I used that horse terminology). I am not afraid of dogs, but seeing her made me stop in my tracks and seeing me made her do the same. We stared at each other for minutes (probably less than a second) and she turned and trotted back into the house. She never uttered a sound. Life’s golden moments.

I had been keeping a log of my steps anxiously awaiting my milestone and missed it completely…at least the recognition of it. So here I am almost a month after hitting the ONE MILLION STEP mark finally writing about it. I actually have nearly 1,200,000 step (not as sexy as ONE MILLION) and hope to achieve, again, 10,000 steps per day this week.



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