Miles for Wellness is a team-based, eight-week challenge put out by the NC Office of State Human Resources twice a year (Spring and Fall) to encourage NC state employees to get more daily steps. The goal is to encourage employees to get 10,000 steps (equivalent to five miles) on most days of the week.
I was encouraged by my colleague, Sarah, who was on a winning team for the Spring challenge. I decided to join the challenge for the first time this year and I am glad I did so for two reasons. First, it made me aware of how few steps I get throughout the day outside of my planned workout/exercise. Second, it motivated me to make a conscious effort to increase my steps each day. Although there is no set expectation for the number of steps each team member gets each week, knowing that you are contributing towards a team can be huge motivation to do more. Last week I was able to get more than 100,000 steps; average of 14,725 steps per day!!
I have always enjoyed walking on trails in nearby parks and greenways but participating in the challenge has made me more mindful to find opportunities to walk more during the day. For example, I now go out for a short 10-minute walk if I find some time in between getting back home from work and taking my kids for their swim lesson. It is a great stress reliever as my workday transitions into the evening routine at home with kids and dinner! I don’t sit around anymore while the kids are at practice; walking may just be going back and forth on the sidewalk outside or around the parking lot. I am blessed to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and walking for 20-40 minutes after dinner has become a new routine for me since I joined the challenge. Now that it is darker earlier, I take a flashlight and stick to well-lit streets. At first, my family thought I was crazy with my new walking routine. But now, some of them have joined in – my daughter even started to walk around the house with me to get more steps when it was raining outside. They too have started to try to get more steps!
The good thing is that I have been able to track my steps on my smartphone. So, that is an easy option if you don’t happen to have a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit. Also, any structured activity such as walking on the treadmill, strength training, yoga, etc. can be converted into an equivalent of steps if you are focusing on the total number of steps in a day.
Participating in this challenge has been a rewarding experience for me and I plan to continue to track my daily step count after the challenge is complete. In fact, I have already signed up for the Holiday Challenge virtual race through Paris and I encourage you to sign up too. The virtual race is free and allows you to see the sites of Paris – all while competing and motivating fellow participants. The race begins on November 20th but registration does not close. Click here to learn more: Virtual Race Through Paris.