Before anything else, I’d like to thank to a high school friend of mine, and his initiative to offer me insurance. I received not only protection for my future, but also a healthy addition to my everyday routine. A routine that has made me change a significant part of my time each day.
As usual, I don’t have express or written consent from my friend which means I can’t mention his name in this letter – but I digress.
So when I received my insurance plan, it came with a Misfit fitness tracker. This plan that I got could take advantage of discounts to my insurance premium depending on the number of steps I’ve taken on average per day.
To give you an idea of the device, it’s the Misfit Shine model. A small circular device, gray in color and had a black strap to make it appear like a watch. You could also use it in other parts of your body, but I prefer making it look like a watch.
I was excited to have it. A new piece of equipment that can track my fitness! I was ecstatic to use it right away.
My enthusiasm, however, was cut short as I encountered a lot of technical problems. When I received the device, the manual mentioned that I had to download the Misfit app. So I did. I synchronized the device with my phone – and it was a fairly good experience. The insurance agent advised that I also had to sync the tracker with their app – horrible idea.
Long story short, I lost 2 weeks of progress as the apps were unable to synchronize. Even their technical support team did not know what to do – but again – I digress.
Now that I had everything set up, and I was counting to my maximum potential discount, I had to walk 10000 steps on average every month. I had to make changes to my lifestyle.
So I did some computation – because I like math stuff.
I walk in about 13 minutes every kilometer. In that 13 minutes of walking, I can have more than 1300 steps. So this means that I just have to walk about 8 kilometers per day or 5 miles to reach my daily goal.
Of course, let me give you a glimpse of what is normal for me. I work a 9 to 5 in the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing -for those who might not be aware) industry. I don’t live an active lifestyle. I need to sleep, and I don’t go out much every work off. That means I have lesser time to walk. Additionally, my hobbies don’t necessarily entice me to go out since it requires a focus, hand-eye coordination and a computer.
“How can you manage this?” I said to myself. What can I sacrifice in my routine to ensure that I meet this fantastic feat?
Simple. I had to change my lifestyle of course. However, I don’t want to change my lifestyle so drastically that I may relapse to my old habits. It had to be gradual. It had to become a habit. It had to be something that I do at least every day that I can replace with walking. The thing is, I also have to walk at least 8 kilometers per day and this was the hardest part.
So I checked my schedule. I checked my activities. I saw the opportunity of walking to work as a means to get those steps in my tracker’s progress. Using google maps as a rough estimate, I measured my way to work from where I lived which was approximately 4.1 kilometers.
This was exactly what I needed to get 8 kilometers back and forth, since it is a rough estimate, we can probable give or take 50 meters from the map’s measurement. This means that I can meet my goal of 10000 steps in a day.
Another thing I had to consider, since I am walking to work, is the fatigue and time. Let’s tackle time first, since we can quantify it. Again, walking an hour takes me about 13 minutes – give or take. This means a 4 kilometer walk would take me approximately 52 minutes. That is also dependent on my pace. Sometimes I don’t feel like walking, so my pace becomes slow. Rarely do I feel the need to walk briskly. My travel time to work usually takes an hour using public transport. This was good because 52 minutes is lesser than an hour.
Realistically speaking, it’s not so good; since the estimated time increases due to the fact that I will be passing through very steep roads and the longest walk is uphill. And walking uphill, even at a low slope, can get tiring when performed during a long period of time.
So my time constraint can easily be overcome by adding 15 minutes so I can adjust and not be late for work.
Now let’s talk about fatigue. This is hard to quantify so I can only express, in words, how I feel when I walk to and from work every day. Maybe I’m just used to it now, but when I started out, I usually had to make 2 stops before completing my journey. Now, with the exception of hunger, I can do it without any stops.
Additionally, when I get to work, I am drenched in sweat. During the first few times I did this, I was unprepared. Now, every work day, I bring with me a pair of towels and an extra shirt. No one asks me why I am sweaty, so I guess it doesn’t bother anyone.
There is a catch though. Meeting my goal has to be everyday, as I mentioned earlier. One of the biggest hurdles for me was my weekends. I can’t go out on the weekends. It’s going to be costly, not to mention the fact that I had to walk every day and not rest. My leg muscles need to rest. This means I have to add steps to compensate for the weekends.
Another challenge for me is the weather. When it drizzles, the area I go to floods. Pretty weird right? I pass through steep places, but there is flooding. I can honestly say it is weird but I can hypothesize that it is due to bad irrigation (which I will probably talk about in another article).
Pollution, smoking, noise and garbage are other constraints, but I can easily avoid these by moving out of the way of wherever the hindrance is placed.
The results of my walking has been pretty positive so far. I’ve lost some weight and I get to explore relatively new places. I’m sure there will be negative side effects to what I am doing, but so far, I am pretty happy with the outcome and will continue this as long as I can.