Endurance + THIS = 20,000 Steps a Day

The other day one of my morning co-hosts on 95.1 SHINE-FM confessed she has a quirky little talent that never fails to impress her family and friends. I was surprised because I have the same talent. But, mine impresses no one. It probably doesn’t help that I ask my wife every time I do it, “Hey, isn’t THAT impressive??!!” She simply says no. I suspect she really is impressed, but doesn’t want me to know because I will become unbearable.

If you ask me what time it is I can come pretty close without checking my Fitbit or phone. I’m almost always within a couple minutes and often will actually nail it. Boom! Impressed?

I’m pretty sure this talent comes from decades in radio. For five hours every morning we are laser focused on the clock. It tells us when to do the news, when to do the traffic, and when to talk about other things. Each of those elements is a specific length. Most of what we do is 60 seconds or less. You eventually develop an innate sense of how long you’re talking without looking at the clock. And, over the years your internal clock get’s pretty finely tuned. Without me thinking about it my brain is keeping time just waiting to be asked.

Maybe this is why I place a high value on time…especially mine. If I’m in a meeting I want to know when it will begin and when it will end. And, if that meeting runs long I start feeling anxiety. If I’m attending an event I arrive early and am always aware of how long before I leave.

Time awareness. It’s the key to reaching 20,000 steps every day.

This is the second week for my 20k One Year Step Challenge. Many people would think this is an endurance challenge. Since the average American gets less than 5,000 steps a day that would make sense. It took me a long time to gradually increase my step totals so I can get 20,000 and not need to rest the next day.

But, more so, this is a time awareness or time management challenge. It takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes of walking through the course of a day to reach 20,000 steps. I certainly don’t have a spare chunk of time that big to go for a really long walk. Even if I did, I’m not sure I’d want to do that every day. Instead, I break my goal down into much smaller bites. Did you know you can get 1000 steps in 10 minutes? The key, for me, has been developing an awareness of where I can move for ten minutes instead of sit.

Here are three of my favorite ways to do that:

  1. If my wife, Ava, and I are going somewhere, and I’m ready before she is I’ll walk while I’m waiting for her. Sometimes this leads to a lot more than just a 1000 steps. 
  2. I love watching sports on TV. I don’t love watching the commercials. Guess what I do when they come on? That’s almost 2000 steps for every hour I’m engaged in the game.
  3. If I’m making dinner I will pace around the kitchen while I’m waiting for water to boil or the oven to finish. That’s a whole bunch of steps right there.

I try and make time for one longer walk every day. That might get me about 5,000 steps. The rest are from these smaller pockets of time that I look for and take advantage of.

Reaching my daily step goals are as much about time management as they are about endurance. Maybe even more so…

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