Week 1 step count: How did I do?

This week has proven glitchy but glorious. This screenshot is my first tracked 10k steps usiImage-1 (2)ng theStepz app I mentioned in my post, 10,000 steps, more like 10,000 miles, where I stated that I was going to walk 10k steps a day for a month and see if it improved my health. So far so good! Keep reading to see how my first week went. Here’s how I’m beating the perpetual poppycock and getting it done!

I’m going to try and keep this short and too the point so here is what I will go over.

  • Goal: Am I hitting my daily goal of 10k steps?
  • Technology
  • Schedule

So let’s get to the good stuff!

Goal: Am I hitting my daily goal of 10k steps?

The short answer is yes! I’m so excited to report that I am finding a way to make my 10k steps every day despite “no time” to get it done. I used quotes for “no time” because that is what I always say and how I generally feel. I work full time, have 2 side hustles (lots of debt to pay off, check out my posts about finances and how to get them under control), 2 kids in elementary school both whom have after school activities, a husband, a dog, and a house with a big yard. All of those things that take up my time are awesome and I’m so grateful for each one so I’m not complaining, BUT they do take up all of my time so fitting in fitness is a real struggle for me.

Image-1 (1)Take a look at how my week went but please make this note! I was working out some technology kinks so while my graphs don’t show that I hit my steps every day, I promise I did. I switched from using the Stepz app to using a FitBit Flex and on two of those days, it was not on my wrist for parts of the day so I missed tracking several hours. I will go over that in my next point about technology but lets just say, I am new to wearing this thing on my wrist all the time and I have proven forgetful a time or two.

As you can see, I hit my 10k steps each day, note the two days mentioned above. At first, it was hard to know if I would hit that goal each day but it is easily becoming habit and something I look forward to doing. I am trying not to become compulsive about the technology side of it, as I have a tendency to do, but for now it is helpful to keep me accountable and know if I’m hitting goal. I learned quickly that 10,000 steps roughly equals 5 miles. That seems a little overwhelming when you are starting from zero but is surprisingly not impossible as I once assumed.

Technology

As you can see from the two images I put early in this post, my technology changed along the way. I started this challenge using Stepz, a free app. It seemed like an easy choice for a number of reasons. Its free, gives me great information on the first screen, and counts steps. That is all I needed to get started. The downside to this was that I had to have my phone with me at all times to get credit for all of my steps. This is where I started to think I’d rather another way. While home I rarely carry my phone around with me. I was missing a lot of my daily steps because I would put my phone down and go about my housework.

I decided to try FitBit and went with the first generation FitBit Flex. I didn’t want to invest much and I didn’t want to get caught up in anything other than counting my steps at the moment. That might change later but for now, I’m just trying to incorporate some healthy life changes in my daily routine. The FitBit has been a nice change but not problem free.

Pros:

  • It wears like a watch and allows a hands free interaction.
  • Once you’ve put it on for the day and tapped it to make sure its listening, you set it and forget it.
  • Its easy to get in the habit of wearing because it is like putting on a watch.
  • The band is rubber and feels durable. I don’t worry about getting it wet or dirty because its easy to clean.
  • It tracks steps and exercise without additional input from me.
  • The band vibrates when you’ve met your daily goal of 10k steps so its a nice celebration every day.

Cons:

  • You have to remember to put it on every day.
  • It wears like a watch so if you aren’t used to having something on your wrist every day, it can be bothersome at first.
  • It costs money. The first generation FitBit Flex will run around $50 retail if you buy it new. You can find plenty of used FitBit’s around the web for much less.
  • It is an outdated technology overtime. As with all technology, by the time you buy it, engineers have made your current tech obsolete and there is something better in development. This is just life. If it bothers you, spend more money and get the new one when they are released.
  • You have to login to the FitBit app to get the actual step count. The FitBit Flex just shows blinking lights that indicate how many steps you’ve approximately taken. If you want the actual number, you have to open the app and use your bluetooth connection to get the data.
  • You have to remember to charge your FitBit. It has a battery life just like a phone. It needs to be charged regularly.
  • Its glitchy. I went for a 5 mile walk Wednesday morning and the FitBit did not track any of it. This was terrible because I had met my daily 10k goal first thing that day but was unable to see the achievement in the app or on my FitBit. I read on the web and this happens from time to time. This is a buzz kill when it happens.

Overall, I like the FitBit rather than using my phone. The handsfree experience is much better for me. I do still carry my phone when I go on long walks or work in the yard, but that is a safety measure and not necessary to track my steps. Just know that whatever method you decide on, there are pros and cons for all of them.

Schedule

As I mentioned before, I have no time. I work several jobs and have a home life that demands a lot of time. This was my biggest obstacle starting this personal challenge. I could not conceive of how I would come up with enough time to walk 10k steps a day. My job is sitting at a desk and my home life involves sitting on the floor playing with kids or sitting in a waiting room at dance/gym/karate/soccer/whatever, for the kids to be done. This is not a lot of movement during the day.

I really had to dig deep and commit to this in order to make it work. These are the things I ended up doing to make my goal happen.

  • Take one to three, 10 minute breaks during my day at the office to walk. Walk around the office, parking lot, street, etc. I didn’t always do the same thing because of weather or other commitments but I always tied to fit in at least one 10 minute walk at the office.
  • Walk on my lunch break. I would spend some of my lunch break actually eating but the first thing I do is take another walk. Its amazing how many steps you can fit in during a 10 – 30 minute walk. If its raining, I will go to the mall or a store and fit in as many steps as I can while I can.
  • Walk while waiting for kids at activities. I switched gears on how I spent this time. I typically would sit and talk to other moms and dads while I was waiting for the kids but now I walk the parking lot of wherever I am. The funny thing is, other moms often join me and thank me for helping them get up and move. It makes for a fun and quick wait!
  • Walk up and down the hall, kitchen, dining room of my house before I sit down for the night at home. This one is a no brainer. Before I sit my butt down for the night, I will walk around my house until I feel that FitBit buzz, signaling my goal has been met. This seems crazy as I’m doing it but it is a necessary part of fitting 10k into my day. I have walked as many as 5k steps in my small house at night after the kids go to bed or while they are bathing. My husband is out of town a lot so I can’t leave the house and the weather is never a factor inside. I literally have no excuses, so I just suck it up and get it done.
  • Park far away. This is one of those things I always heard and sometimes did but now its an key component of my strategy to fit in extra steps during my day. And it works!
  • Walk the kids to school. I have to say, I both love and dislike this one. I LOVE the time I get walking my kids to school in the morning. We have sweet conversations and I get to hear about random things they think about or comfort fears they are having. I truly value this time, BUT I am a horrible sweater, I live in the deep south and I’m large. This combination leaves me with soaking wet hair, runny makeup and sticky skin every day as I drive to work. The easier thing would be to just use the carpool line but then I’d miss those sweet moments with them and the extra steps that really get my day going.
  • Let the kids ride bikes up and down the street or around the block while you walk in the evenings before you go in to make dinner or do homework. This is fun and they love it, too.

The weekends are a much easier, at least for me. Each weekend day, I walk 5 miles at one time around my neighborhood or park. This 5 miles ensures I hit my 10k goal that day and all other steps that day are just bonus on top of my 10k.

Here is my typical weekend step schedule:

  • Friday night my husband is usually home so I walk 5 miles around the block. The kids usually start it on their bikes with me and then I drop them at the house as we make a pass, when they tire out. If he is not home, I just walk in front of my house as they play in the yard with the neighbors or watch tv inside. I’m never more than a couple doors down at any time so they can walk out and ask me for whatever they need.
  • Saturday morning I walk 10k in the parking lot of my daughters gymnastics practice while I’m waiting for her. This takes me about 1.5 – 2 hours and that is usually how long she is at practice. I just walk in circles until she is done or I feel my FitBit buzz.
  • Sunday I repeat my process from Friday night. Sometimes I do this alone if my husband is in town and can watch the kids, but if not that is ok.

I also mow the yard every weekend and according to my FitBit that is around 9k steps itself so I get that extra workout, as long as its mowing season. In south Louisiana that is usually March – November. We like it hot, hot, hot!

Overall, this has been an awesome experience so far. My focus has been on including 10k steps in every day as a way to improve my heart health, create good physical habits, lose weight and elevate my mood. I think I’m well on my way to seeing great results for each of those things. My mood is definitely better. I’m being better with my kids and getting more time with them by including them in my exercise. To them its play time so they don’t even realize they are helping out mom and that makes it fun for everyone. I’m stopping the nonstop mental blocks and questions, otherwise known as perpetual poppycock, and doing something! It feels great!

 

 

 

 

 

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