I Walked Every Day For A Month And This Happened
At TAMVOES we love to learn and share new ways to stay healthy, so when we released our 3 Reasons Why Walking is Underrated blog, we were inspired to start a walking challenge for a whole month. Everyone on the team was challenged to walk as many steps as they could each day, resulting in a fierce competition for many on the team. As someone who has had limited motivation to be active while working from home, a challenge was all I needed to push me to start getting active again! Here are my experiences and findings from this month long walk-a-thon.
Week 1: 56,333 steps in total
Now going into this competition I didn’t expect so many people to be walking so much. I knew from talks of a previous walking challenge, the winner was our co-founder Jessica who is an avid walker. Seeing that first day of step count submissions blew me away because I did not expect her to be walking 12k+ steps on a Monday!
After gaining slow momentum and seeing the high results from the team, I pushed myself to do 17,824 steps in one day to catch up. I found that it was easier to accumulate more steps by spreading out walks throughout the day – morning, lunch, and night. However, even though the high step count made me feel invincible, a couple days later I would be the opposite. At the end of the week I realized that it was probably a bad idea to walk this much as I already had pain in my ankles and it was probably the most I’ve ever walked in a day this year. Pro tip: don’t try to catch up with your team members who have walked daily marathons for years!
Week 2: 41,190 steps in total
Coming into a new week, my feet were in so much pain. I have bone and joint pain in my feet so I’ve had to wear orthotics and braces for years. I usually get pain in my ankles and toes after a lot of activity so it’s no surprise that my feet got swollen. During the pandemic I hadn’t really had a reason to be active, so when I suddenly took on this challenge, it reminded me of the pain that I would endure with my feet.
Now I realized that there’s more harm than good when you try too hard, so I was settling for a more consistent daily step count. Making time to squeeze in a walk after work became more attainable and something I began to look forward to. Not only was it a good change in environment, but it felt good to clear my mind after a whole day staring at screens.
Week 3: 58,978 steps in total
I found that the best thing about walking after work was obtaining a better appetite. Before walking, I had not been using my energy enough to really start to be hungry, which changed when I started my daily walks. Not only was this a benefit, but sleep also came more quickly to me. I had always had trouble with my sleeping schedule but now that I was making my body more tired during the day, it felt easier to fall asleep at night.
Week 4: 31,598 steps in total
Although I was still determined to have a daily walk, it did become harder to balance, especially since the sun was going down earlier. There’s nothing like walking in the harsh cold in the dark at 6pm. To keep my daily step consistent, I made an effort to instead walk at lunch time- which not only was significantly warmer and lighter, but gave me a boost of adrenaline to go back to work.
After my month-long walk, I surpassed my monthly average from all of 2021 with 188,099 steps. An accomplishment can look different for everyone, but knowing that you pushed through and made better choices for your health is the best reward you can give yourself!
What I Discovered
It’s easier to have someone walk with you most times. My mom volunteered to walk with me, especially since I would walk after 5 and sometimes after dark through the neighborhood. It was a great time to catch up together after a day at work. We had been living in the same house the whole week but a big portion of our day we are busy working from home. So it was nice to go on these walks and talk about our days. Sometimes we would replace drives with walks- like visiting the library by walking instead of driving. She ended up appreciating the walk too and said it was a nice change to her usual day from the past 2 years. I imagine once the weather starts heating back up and the dark stops entering at 5 we will be walking during the summer for fun.
I found that it was more motivating to have a path planned out before leaving the house. When I would walk around aimlessly and just try to wander where my feet brought me, they would just bring me home. It was better to stick to an area that I knew distance and area wise so that while I was walking, I was determined to reach that place. A running track was also nearby so it was easy to go around a few times while listening to a podcast to pass time while getting a lot of steps in.
As for pain, If I had stayed active during the pandemic my feet wouldn’t have flared up so much from the sudden movement that month. After that week of excruciating pain from my ambitious walking step count, I booked an appointment with my Podiatrist which I would previously brush the visit off- but this was a helpful warning that the future of my health and pain is in my hands at the present.
Another motivating factor was actually seeing my step fluctuations as the weeks went on. Having Apple Health already downloaded on my phone, I could keep track of my daily step count and if I was doing better or worse compared to days prior. Since Apple Health integrates with the TAMVOES app, I got to see comprehensive graphs in My Health Profile of my heart and respiration rates. The great feature of this was that I could share my graph and results to members within my health team, as well as compare with non-walking months how much of a difference walking helped my health.
Months after the challenge, the walking habits stayed with me and I found myself more interested in activity overall. Having an activity or challenge to help you stay active and promote healthy living is the best thing you can do- especially during a time where we may not need to be active while at home. This experience helped me realize that instead of going above and beyond, it may be more beneficial to maintain a consistent and sustainable walking limit that’s right for you.
Do you have a story you would like to share on Talkative? Send us a submission! And if you haven’t already, make sure you signup for a free TAMVOES account so you can get started on tracking all of your vitals to stay up to date with your health as it changes. Learn more on the TAMVOES platform.