Sunday, January 23, 2022

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

While I love the song, I have to admit that getting the daily 10k steps leaves much to be desired in winter walking. Before delving into my recent walking challenges, I do have to make a very real brag. With the help of Noom, and may some luck, I was able to maintain my weight through the holidays! I consider this a sizeable victory, as it is tough for anyone to do. 

That said, the colder winter weather and Covid weariness has made for some challenges to the habits that ran smoothly in fairer weather; particularly for getting in those precious steps not to mention my overall activity level.  I was fairly gung-ho at the start of the cold. My smart goal of at least 5,000 steps during the workday and filling in the rest at the gym in the evening was working well. 

Then the real cold came along with the snow and ice. In one particular moment of feeling invincible, I went out for a walk and within 500 steps had a nice slip and bruise on the right side of my rear end to show for it. Fortunately, I fell "well" and saved hitting my head or breaking an ankle. While the goals are important, it's important to not get injured so as to prevent hitting future goals. 

Thus, I've been checking conditions and working on getting a good chunk of the work steps in the building. We do have sort of a "rat's maze" loop around the building that nets ~200 steps per lap. I'm able to take these strolls when waiting on experiments or even heating my lunch. Establishing this as a habit is a little more of a challenge compared to my 2,000 step, good weather, walk. Longer strolls only require starting out on once or twice a day, whereas a lap around the building needs to be initiated 10x more often. 

I also feel weird walking past the same offices and having the same people looking at me two or three times in a roll. Still, I'm doing what needs to be done to stay on track. There has also been a time or two where I get waylaid and end up not walking or my thoughts wander, and my lunch ends up staying in the microwave a lot longer than I originally intend.

I have explored a couple of other options. The first of these is mall walking. Yes, the same mall walking that the older folks do in their sweats before the stores open. I did try this once. It served the purpose, but also felt awkward to be there without capitalistic purpose (it's starting to sound as though I need to "get over it"). 

I've also looked into getting better outdoor traction in the way of metal studded slipovers for my shoes/boots to give some traction. I'm actually intrigued by this option but haven't made the purchase yet. 

Lastly, it might be worthwhile to try and get some of the 5k steps before work, by way of just walking on the treadmill at the gym. This may sound odd as I could just get all the steps after work at the gym. The problem with after work is that it eats into a lot of time I could spend working out or taking care of other obligations. My patience for the evening treadmill is capped at around 2 miles (~4,000 steps), but I've recently had to get as many as 4 miles. Again, the distance isn't the problem, it's the time involved.

Ultimately, a balance will be found, but for right now it is taking a little more effort to hit this lynchpin goal. Despite this, it is critical to keep trying. Maintenance can be a big win in the winter. Spring will eventually arrive, and a reprieve granted.

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