getting 10,000 steps when the days are shorter

Sunrise on a dark Autumn morning

Autumn is here and the days are shorter. It’s getting harder to fit in my 10,000 steps. It takes roughly and hour and a half to get 10,000 steps. A third of that, I get in an ordinary workday, just walking from my car to the office and back, and trips to the Xerox. But an hour a day must come from a dedicated walk.

I used to be able to walk an hour before work, but not anymore. It doesn’t get light until 6:45 am now.

For a while, I was getting up at 4:15 am, driving to the gym, walking an hour, and then going to work right from there. The benefits of that included getting all my steps done in the morning and I was always early for work. But that drive to the gym… 40 minutes of driving for an hour of walking doesn’t make a lot of sense. And I love to walk outside. In nature. Watching the sunrise.

I started waiting until it was light, getting in a half hour walk before work and then doing another half hour after dinner. It works, but I’m a few minutes late for work everyday. So, waiting till it’s light enough to walk is also not the perfect plan.

How am I going to continue my 10,000 step journey? It’s only going to get darker and colder (and snowier) until next Spring. Yesterday, I did do my half hour in the morning (late for work) and a half hour after dinner, and came in at 10,006 steps for the day. Just made it.

Giving up my steps is not an option. I’ve come to rely on them to help me with stress and worry. Walking outside helps me put things in perspective, makes me calmer, and I love the little “nature break” that I have each day.

Our winters are cold and rough, so I’m trying out all kinds of scenarios in my head to see if I can find a routine that will carry me through winter.

The only thing that makes sense for me, is to at some point buy a treadmill. That way I can walk without being killed by a snowplow, or getting into an accident driving on ice covered roads to the gym. And I would always be on time for work.

A good treadmill is $600 on sale at Sears. That’s a huge commitment of money. I’m still not sure I want to go that route. I guess I’ll cross that road when I come to it.

Right now, it’s still fall, and my only problem is shortening daylight. So, I think I’ll get that walk in this morning and try to be on time for work. One day at a time seems to be the plan.

Photo by DLM





planning for winter

imageLately, it’s been getting harder to finish 10,000 steps a day. It seems like everything is conspiring to derail me, including Mother Nature and the tilt of theĀ earth’s axis. The days are getting shorter here in the North East, so I can no longer get out there and get some steps before work, because it’s technically still night time. I live in the country with no streetlights and I’m not about to walk up and down these rough country roads in the dark. Besides, we have coyotes. I’d like to see them before they see me.

Also, paradoxically, our weather has been more like the rainforest than upstate New York lately. A few days ago, it was 93 degrees with 75% humidity. I don’t think walking in air that feels like a sauna towel is fun.

So, I’ve been turning to a treadmill to get my steps. I don’t like it much. It’s boring, and the quest becomes only a mission to get steps, not getting outside and being in nature.

The last few days have been gorgeous fall weather and I’ve been out there walking again, but I have to adjust for the ever shortening daylight. Now instead of walking at 5:45 am, I’m finding that I need to run out there at 6:30 when it’s finally light out, do a quick half hour up the hill and back, and then rush to work, (and most likely be late). Then I have to get right out there again after dinner, or risk coming back in the dark with all those coyotes.

What am I going to do in the winter? It will be dark until 7:30 am and dark again at 4:30 pm. Not to mention our famous mega snow storms and serious footage of accumulated yuck. There aren’t even any sides to the roads in the winter. Nowhere to walk, and the very real risk of being hit by an over-zealous snow plow.

This is going to take some planning. And I think there are treadmills in my future. There’s no way around it.

But for now, it’s fall, and even thought the days are shortening, it’s still possible to get my steps in outside. I’ll just take it as it comes, I guess.