The walking competition ended June 30.
James Clark bested my attempt by about 72,000 steps. If that sounds impressive or slightly depressing (depending on whose side you are on), hold onto your hats. I reached my goal of half a million steps. I was at 506,671. James reached 578,741. Together we took over 1 million steps in 30 days.
Isn’t that awesome? It’s kind of nice to have someone to compete against and be motivated with to keep going. I remember a time, when I couldn’t have imagined taking that many steps in a month.
I can’t speak for James but I’m exhausted. The competition, as it did the first time, completely messed up my routine. I’m still working on getting that back with smaller walks throughout the day to up my energy level, reduce stress, improve my mood, burn calories and keep me from experiencing brain drain with all these city and county government meetings I attend.
Right now, both governments are in the middle of budget discussions – those can be good, bad and ugly. They can also be mentally draining to sit through.
Back to the topic at hand, I’m a firm believer that exercise is like nutrition. We need healthy food daily and we need exercise daily. Neither needs to be occasionally. It’s logically, if you think about it:
• If you eat unhealthy most of the week and healthy once or twice a week, that’s not good. Healthy food must be the staple of your food consumption and unhealthy the occasional. By healthy, I mean one-ingredient foods and not processed foods. If you can stick it on the shelf and it be good months or years from now, how is that healthy?
• If you do an intensive exercise program once a week and that’s it because your muscles are so sore that you couldn’t imagine moving for the next 3-4 days, that’s not good. Exercise should be daily and for that, you need to stop with the “no pain, no gain” stance. Do some sort of exercise daily – just get moving!
Should you push yourself occasionally? Yes. Should you push yourself to where you are hurting so badly that it stops you from exercising for days? No.
Myself, I would rather have three 30-minute walks spaced out throughout the day. Smaller walks make me feel rejuvenated, while longer walks make me feel exhausted. Longer walks also stimulate my appetite. I’m definitely not a fan of that. Every time I go on a hike, I want pizza afterwards. What good does that do? It’s the definition of counterproductive.
Having said all this, figure out what you like and what works for you. In order to make permanent healthy changes, the exercise you choose has to be something you like doing and the healthy food you choose has to be something you like eating.
Lifestyle changes are permanent changes. Focus on permanent changes if you want permanent results.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.