My Quest for Steps

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Or how I walked 5 miles in my house

I wrote about my strange rungries and sleep disturbances when I started to run again after a short runbbatical here. This week I’m going to talk about how I managed to get in my steps — even with bitter cold, no running, limited power, and no dog walks.

Fairytales and Fitness

Imagine this scenario: it’s about 1 degree outside. You’ve lost power, but at least the generator is keeping the house warm. No treadmill though, so running, while an option for some, wasn’t an option for me — it was not only cold, it was incredibly windy, which is why we lost power in the first place.

I live in an ordinary house of roughly 1800 square feet. Now can you imagine getting in 10,000 steps with no treadmill and without going outside (except to get the mail)?

Pay attention to the Garmin
I’ve been working on upping my steps on non running days for a while now. Since I have a Garmin Vivoactive, it buzzes to let me know that I’ve been immobile for too long. I often use that as a sign to get up and move around.

Except when I don’t. Sometimes I get engrossed in whatever I am doing and I just ignore my Garmin. It does help me be mindful of when I’m sitting too long, though.

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Up and down, around and round, for 5 miles

Walk around every hour
If I wait for my Garmin to buzz at me, no doubt I’ve already been sitting too long. So my next thought was to try to get up every hour and walk around a little. This is a really good strategy — again, when you can pry yourself away from whatever it is you’re doing.

Some days, when I know that I’m likely to be less active, I up the ante and try to get up every half hour. I don’t always, of course, but having a goal makes it more likely that you actually do something.

Extend the pacing
Rather than worrying too much about steps, I set a simple goal to walk around a couple of minutes every hour. Then I’d try to beat that: walk for 3 minutes, walk for 4, etc. It really doesn’t seem like much, but it can sure add up over the course of a day.

If you’re at work, walking every hour and extending the time you walk are good strategies — if it’s possible at your place of work, of course. A walking lunch break can really help you get in some steps; it has the added benefit of hopefully getting  you outside and giving you some more energy.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way
I did it. 5 miles simply walking around my house, either in a conscious attempt to get in more steps or just as part of my normal day. No dogwalk, no run. I won’t say it was easy, but it is doable.

How do you get in your steps when you can’t get outside?

Do you have a certain number of steps you aim for each day?

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to meet your step goal?

You can do anything you set your mind to — the trick is to make the decision to just do it (thank you, Nike) and just take the first step. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Second verse, same as the first

5winteractivities

So many people love their winter sports: skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, ice skating. Me? Not so much. Why do you think I don’t want to live somewhere cold & snowy?  We’re talking winter activities on the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy

I must runfess, though, that my winter activities look pretty much like my activities in the spring, summer, and fall!

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Still running; taking advantage of free supported long runs

Always running
Even if I’m not training for anything, I run through the winter. Most winters I’m not training for anything. Because it’s hard. That lets me skip a run if the weather sucks. It lets me run less, run when I feel like it, run how far I feel like. I don’t do hills and I don’t do speedwork.

I don’t stop, though, because I don’t want to have to start from square one again. It’s my off season, which just means I run less and don’t run fast. Except for a few weeks here and there, whether from injury or recovering from a goal race, I really haven’t stopped running since I began eight years ago. Thankfully!

This year, of course, I am training through the winter. Mother Nature has been somewhat kind to me so far. I am praying that she continues to be in a good mood. Although February is notoriously harsh in these parts.

The one winter activity: shoveling
I’m not a fan of the snow blower. Thankfully I have Mr. Judy for that. When it snows there is almost always some areas that need some TLC with a regular shovel, and that usually falls to me.

So far there hasn’t been too much shoveling. I know people who truly enjoy it, but like any repetitive cleaning chore, it’s not one I enjoy. It gets in the way of my fitness.

I know, I know, it is exercise too, but I’d much rather be doing yoga, strength training, running . . . anything other than shoveling.

Breaking it up with the bike
I am so glad we bought my fitdesk last year. I’ve been trying hard to break up the sitting with little spurts of activity throughout the day, and the fitdesk is perfect for that. I try to get up every hour and bike for about 5-10 minutes.

I watch the news and scroll IG and voila! Cross training. I also try to get up and walk around when my Garmin Vivoactive vibrates to tell me I’ve been sitting too long. Those little bits of activity have a way of adding up!

Walking the dogs
There are days that it’s too icy, too wet, or too cold to walk the dogs. But those are the exceptions. Year round, almost every day, I am out there walking the dogs. It’s not a power walk — there is much sniffing and peeing (and more) going on.

But it is another way I add in a little more movement into my day. It makes it easier to hit 10k steps most days — on days when I don’t run and can’t walk the dogs, it’s hard to get up to 10k steps.

So if you want to move more, just get a dog. Or volunteer at a shelter — they love having volunteers walk the dogs, who sorely need that break from their kennel. It’s win-win: you get the fun and companionship of a dog without the upkeep, they get much needed socialization and exercise and fresh air.

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Baking: it’s a year round sport!

Even more baking
What, you don’t think baking is exercise? Well, no, I have to admit that it isn’t. But it gets you up and on your feet rather than putting a butt sized dent into your couch. You could make it a little more active by throwing in some exercises while waiting for things to bake (although I rarely do, I admit).

Baking is not a winter sport for me, I try to medal at it year-round. It’s a stress reliever like exercise, but then you have something yummy to eat, too! And it can be creative, too — although unlike cooking, you really do have to pay attention to what you’re doing. There was the time I grabbed the garlic salt instead of regular salt for the chocolate chip cookies . .  . not a good flavor combination; trust me.

Let me know in the comments:

#teamhibernate or #teamlovewinter?

Are you sad when there’s no snow (I do my happy dance then)?

Any epic baking fails?