26 August 2015

Accepting the Walking Challenge

I have always enjoyed walking both as a means for getting somewhere and also as a pursuit in its own right. I am not a boots and sticks sort of walker and I rarely venture into the countryside but I manage to clock up a few kilometres in urban areas while wearing a work suit.

I had no idea how much walking I was doing until I got my iPhone6 in November 14 and it started counting my steps for me.

With my phone constantly there to nag me I started to walk even more.

Some of this extra walking was just doing more of the simple things and doing more with them.

For example, when I am working at Kings Place I could take the tube to the nearest station, Kings Cross, or the one before that, Euston, but I get off two stops early, at Warren Street, to give myself more of a walk. When working at Leatherhead I walk the mile from the station to the office (and back) rather than take the shuttle-bus.

Similarly, I have changed the ten minute bus ride to the Willoughby Arms into a twenty minute walk. Allowing for waiting for the bus, walking is not that much slower and its much better.

I usually walk to the theatre in the evening too and several times I have walked from Kings Cross to one of the theatres south of the river. I have walked as far as Battersea and Kennington from Kings Place, that is around 7km. The theatre does not start until 7:30pm, sometimes a little later, and that gives plenty of time for a long walk as well as something to eat and drink before the show.

Initially I set myself the generally known target of 10k steps a day but that quickly proved to be unambitious and I upped this to 12k. More recently it has gone up again, to £14k steps a day which is about 100k steps a week.

I manage 14k most days and it is frustrating when I have a day where there is not much opportunity for a serious walk. I had one of those days at Glyndebourne last week and so desperate was I to maintain my averages that I went for a medium length walk, around 4k steps, when I got home at 10pm.

When the well-being team at work introduced a Walking Challenge I had to join in.

This was aimed more at encouraging casual walkers to walk a little more and so while it mentioned the 10k step guideline the target that it actually set was 35k steps a week, or just 5k a day. I do that many getting to work.

There is an online system where you can record your steps taken each day and it shows how your numbers compare to the average.

Two weeks into the four week challenge the average number of steps taken is 106, 548 and my total is 249,637, though I will caveat that by saying that not everybody will have recorded all of their steps yet. Even so, I have managed 145k and 105k steps in the first two weeks of the challenge (despite Glyndebourne!) and I am happy with that.

Walking at work has some challenges at some of our office locations. Kings Place is brilliant as it is on the canal and there are lots of interesting places within walking distance in every direction. Green Park in Reading has nice landscaping with a lake but there is only one route and that is not very long. Leatherhead and Birmingham are dreadful, both offices are at the ends of business parks and the only place to walk is out back past all the offices and once out there is still nowhere interesting to go.

Walking like this has had some obvious benefits to me. On the health front I have lost one stone just through the additional walking, i.e. I still eat and drink as much as I did before.

The time spent walking is never wasted either and I listen to a lot of podcasts and downloaded radio programmes. I get a few hours worth of podcasts every day and I need my walking time to keep up with them all.

Walking has also taken me to places and shown me things that I would otherwise have missed. These range from the Gagosian Gallery to the Cally Clock Tower to a garden stuffed with gnomes. Walking is its own reward.

Walking, except in the rambling sense, is a much undervalued activity and one that I am still learning to appreciate more as I do even more of it. Setting myself a walking challenge was one of the best things that I have ever done.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to download the app and take a look.



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