A Thousand Steps At A Time

Exercise. It can be the bane of your existence while struggling against ever increasing weight. It can be the cause of one of the ultimate Catch-22’s in life. At my top weight, I tried exercising several times. Even a simple walking program ended up being a problem because while exercising, I’d injure myself in some way and then have to stop. I would actually be in a worse state than before because my ability to move would be even more restricted than before I started the exercise program. So while sitting around with my foot propped up because of a sprained ankle, additional pounds always seemed to find me and climb on board.

But, as I said, exercise is essential on the journey to becoming a much healthier me. Just prior to my surgery, I started a walking program of my own making. Just outside of the building I work in, there is a five story parking garage. Several of my co-workers on lunch or break will go over to the parking garage and walk, going up the ramps. I liked the idea, but had two issues with it for me. One, while walking is good, I was looking for a way to get my heart pumping a little faster (and I don’t/won’t run). And two, it takes too long. Time is something I spar with in almost every aspect of my life. I have so much I want to do, and trying to cram it all in during the allotted time frames is always difficult.

A gym membership for me would be a waste of money. I used to have them when I actually was fit, and it was still a waste of money because I didn’t want to take that much of a chunk of time out of my life to go and simply exercise. See, time has always been a factor for me. Not enough hours in the day, unless I wanted to give up sleep, and I do little enough of that as it is. There is another factor to consider, which is that I detest exercise for the sake of exercise and the longer it takes, the angrier I get. I love to do things which exercise my body. I used to swim competitively, played softball, and loved to go for bike rides, etc. Just don’t put me on an exercycle to sweat in my own home, or even worse a treadmill going nowhere fast. It makes me want to scream.

Obviously, I had to find something which would allow me to get my heart pumping in a short amount of time and could be done without feeling I’m taking away from other things I want to be doing. So, looking out at the parking garage, I realized that in addition to having those nice sloping ramps, there were stairwells. Hmmmm. Stairs would definitely add the heart pumping action, and would cut down on the time necessary. And so my regime has begun. I go out to the parking garage and climb the stairs. At first, I was simply going up and down, trying to do as many flights as I could get me started. Then I realized it would be beneficial to walk from one stairwell to the other between flights. At first, two flights of stairs up and down was all I could manage at a time. I would leave my desk, go to the parking garage, do my climb and return to my desk, and no one even knew I had gone.

Now I am able to climb all five flights, with the walk between stairwells, and it takes me less than ten minutes away from my desk. I am doing this a minimum of three times daily. So, after having my circuit down, I decided to see how many steps it was taking me, to give me a ballpark idea of how much I was walking. The number of steps between each stairwell is 100, and total number of stairs (up and down) is 148, so in my ten minute jaunts I am walking approximately 1,100 steps. I am starting to add a couple of extra up and downs during my lunch time constitutional, so the overall daily number will be increasing, and I’m finding I’m climbing the stairs a little faster all the time, so may start adding an extra flight or two during my other rounds as well.

The benefits are huge because I’m actually getting exercise, I get my heart rate up, I get away from my desk (which I never used to do), and that allows me greater concentration when I return, and I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time. I will be introducing other activities as I lose weight, but for now, I’m taking things a thousand steps at a time.

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