Obsessin’ with Steppin’

With the stay-at-home orders prevalent around the world, a daily walk has become all that stands between many of  us and losing our minds. You may remember our recent post about Disc Golf and the challenges of losing weight. And you may also remember that, for me, I would much rather be outside than in a gym. 

In fact, a walk outdoors is a trek through the daily challenge that has become my obsession with steppin’.  

Research says…

The consensus is that 10,000 daily steps is the standard for a good step day. The National Institutes of Health considers a baseline activity level of 5,900 to 6,900. Taking that up to 10,000 makes sense if you’re looking to move beyond the basics to a level that could improve your overall health.

Tracking my trek

After years of nagging…I mean, encouragement…I finally bought a Fitbit Versa just in time for the New Year.  Since then, “Got to get my steps in” and “I hit 10,000” have become normal conversation topics, and a measurement of accomplishment.  Now, Kelly maintains I obsess with steps.  I have no idea what she is talking about, but for the record, my personal record for steps in one day is 27,167, my weekly high record is 98,013. 70,00 steps is the weekly goal.  

Obsessed? Perhaps. 

Actually, I believe this whole step “movement” is pretty productive and provides accountability to get me off my butt and move. Some days, I look down at my Fitbit or check the app mid-afternoon and see only 1,000 steps. That’s a clue it might be time to get my rear in gear. 

10,000 steps in a day and reasonable eating (meaning no slushies or Sheetz chocolate chip cookies) generally means I’ll break even – no weight gain that day.  But 15,000 steps and reasonable eating in a day? Over the course of a week, that generally results in losing a LB or two.  

Fitbit Adventure Races

But counting steps alone can get a bit boring. And in our house, competition reigns. Since we go on most walks or hikes together, it was a challenge to figure out how to make steps into a competition. The ‘Discover’ tab in the Fitbit app dashboard had just what we needed to get started. 

The Fitbit app is the least sexy of our tech options, but there are two Adventure Races, which allow you to virtually sightsee while racing others to complete the Valley Loop or the Pohono Trail, both in Yosemite National Park.

You follow your progress in the app, ‘stopping’ at predetermined waypoints along the trail.

Vernal Falls can be completed as a solo adventure. You can also create a challenge of your own, if you prefer to carve out your own path.

Part of the Premium package that usually runs $7.99/month, Fitbit is currently offering a free 90-day trial that allows you access to these great features.

World Walking

There are other virtual options. World Walking is free and allows you to track your steps while sightseeing. If you’ve ever wanted to walk around Sydney, Australia or tour the Canadian Rockies, this app syncs with Fitbit devices and can work with your Apple Health Kit (you need to open the app to sync with your iPhone pedometer) to send you on a virtual tour as you walk around the block. 

My Virtual Mission

For about $2/month you can walk with My Virtual Mission.  This app, compatible with Apple Watch, Apple Health, Fitbit, Strava, Map My Run/Ride and RunKeeper, lets you create your own fitness challenge, and use your regular distance-based activities to move along the route you create. 

If you want more of a challenge, try their Conqueror Event series. You can complete a virtual marathon along the Inca Trail in Peru, or work your way along 280 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Single challenges run from $30 on up, or you can purchase a pick-5 challenge for around $130. All prices include a finisher’s medal, and some include apparel if you want even more bragging rights.

For those who like to travel – even virtually – these apps seem like viable options. The difference is in how much you want to pay, what you want to see, and whether you want swag or not.

In our house, there are certainly challenges each day.  

The most common, and one I find most amusing, is when I check my step account in the evening and see 8,500 steps. What is a man to do? Do I  go for it? I’m short 1,500 steps from the minimum.  Sure, I can walk up and down my driveway or  walk up and down our stairs, or just live with the  failure of not hitting the big 10,000 steps.  Kelly thinks I’m nuts. Again, I have no idea what she’s talking about.

Either way, my obsession with steppin’ is a true test of commitment. 

Please be mindful, I am just a guy trying to lose weight, check with your doctor or physician before you set daily or weekly step goals. 

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