Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Up for a challenge?

This is an invitation to join me and others in getting off our tookas and moving. The concept is simple – you simply measure/count the number of steps you take each day, log your progress, and strive to increase your total number of steps each day. There is a web site that I have created a group on, and the name of the group is “NY Whine Trail” – you can register for free and then sign up for a “walking route.” There are several routes and the goal is to complete the route in a 6 week period. As an example, there is route 50 across the US, starting on the east coast and ending up on the west coast. Each 100 steps equates to a “program mile,” while each 2,000 equates, approximately, to a real mile. Your program miles are calculated after you log them in, and your progress on your route is shown on a map. As an example, in 15 days I made it from Connecticut to Kansas (using “program miles”).

There is no daily time commitment, there is no commitment to anyone but yourself, to get up and move. Walk with a friend or neighbor after work, walk with a co-worker during the lunch hour, or walk by yourself several times during the day. The idea is to walk, and measure your steps. Why the group? Support. Accountability, if you want it, to someone else. Encouragement. Motivation. Name it.

Once you’ve logged 3 days’ steps, the web site will tell you what your “baseline” steps are, and then give you a goal to reach (per day) based on the route that you’ve selected as part of the program. To register, follow these instructions:

1. Go to www.americaonthemove.org
2. Click "Join Now"
3. Select "Individual" registration4.
Use Registration Code: RNY39872
5. Finish registering

You’ll need a pedometer to participate. These can be found at Wegmans, WalMart, Kmart, Eckerd, and most sporting goods stores. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on one, you don’t need bells and sirens and whistles, just something that counts your steps. If you want to pay extra for something fancy, go for it, but you really don’t need it.

Eckerd sells “Omron” pedometers, and they run about $15 or so. They have a 7 day memory so you can see what you did the day before or (unlike me) you have access to the prior day’s information without having to chant those numbers to yourself over and over on your morning commute so you can remember them to log them in.

My own pedometer is a dual function one, that doubles as a “computer” or speedometer for my bike. I think I paid about $20 for it, but as I said, it’s a dual function. It measures time, distance, calories burned, etc.

Whatever pedometer you get, buy something to tie it or pin it onto your clothing with, as pedometers have a habit of coming loose from wherever they’re clipped, and they get lost. I would suggest a piece of ribbon tied firmly around the clip, then pinned to the inside of your pocket or the underside of the bottom of your shirt.

Why all the walking? Well, I accepted a challenge at work, under a program called “Walktober” and, in just 3 weeks, I lost 6½ pounds. But better than that, I went from a not-too-snug size 14 down to a loose-fitting size 12. I did nothing more. No dieting. No depriving myself of the things I love. Just the walking. But, I made walking a huge part of my day. THAT was the big change, and the key thing to my weight loss success.

So, what do you have to lose? Sign up, and give it a whirl. If you have a friend that you know you can walk with, invite your friend to register, too. I’ve “reserved” space for a lot of people in this group, so it’s open to anyone who wants to participate. Have a cyber buddy you want to include? Invite them along, too.

If you have any questions, drop me a line.

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