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Moving Toward Small Goals

 The first week of the Keep It Moving Challenge, I wrote that I had a goal to add strength training to my routine. I also wrote that I wanted to walk 25,000 steps this year and participate in a 5K and a 10K. To achieve those goals, I add in my activities incrementally. By adding in activities little by little, then I can maintain the gain I have already established. I also can include new short term goals and make them part of my long-term plan.

This year, I started off walking 7,700 steps a week. I started at a higher number than I usually do for two reasons. First, I have been walking for a few years now, and the amount of steps I take comfortably without feeling too much exertion is pretty high now. Second, I wanted to be able to reach my stretch goal of walking 25,000 steps a day this year. To do that and continue adding in about 1,100 steps a week, I knew that I was going to have to start with 7,700 steps a week. I did a little math and calculated the steps and the number of weeks. Another one of my lessons, math is everywhere.

Photo by Jeanette R. Harrison

I can comfortably walk about four miles this week, which is roughly around 9,900 steps a day, whether or not you include my daily steps of moving around my home, walking my dog, and shopping for groceries or other errands. Honestly, I felt I needed to challenge myself more. Because of that, I decided to go ahead and add in strength training this week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually recommends strength training as part of a physical activity routine. When you start to feel really comfortable with what you are doing in your exercise routine, especially when it's feeling easy for you, that's a great indicator that you need to challenge yourself a little more. I think it's the same way in life or even at work. It's time for a change when things get so easy for you that you don't have to make much of an effort. Not a big change, but maybe adding in a little something extra to push you forward. 

Adding in the strength training was enough for me this week. On the first day, I completed upper body strength training. That night I fell asleep at 6:30 pm. I woke up at midnight to turn off all the lights, and I went back to sleep until 5:00 am the next morning. I should add that I also walked outside that afternoon, and the temperatures were in the upper 30s/lower 40s Fahrenheit in my area. I find that walking in colder temperatures can also be exhausting. When you are cold, your body has to work harder to keep warm. I also try to be more cautious on colder days to avoid ice patches or potential injuries. When I get home, I make sure to drink plenty of water. I still have to stay hydrated even when the temperatures are colder. Once my body temperature has returned to normal, I take a hot shower or hot bath and relax for the evening.