Friday, April 27, 2012

Statewide Walking Challenge

Photo by OHventures

The Ohio Statewide Walking Challenge is underway! It started early last week on Monday, April 16 and will last through June 10. The purpose of the Challenge is to get state employees who sit at a desk all day (such as myself) to stop being so sedentary and start moving! We wear a very sophisticated Omron Pedometer that digitally tracks each step we take and stores the stats for seven days. Each day, we are to enter the number of steps taken. Teams are formed throughout the state to compete against other teams to see who has taken the most steps during the Challenge!

Even if you are not an employee of the State of Ohio, you too can have your very own "walking challenge" by wearing a pedometer and setting a goal. My goal is 7,000 steps per day. In the past two weeks, I have averaged that amount. Some days, I have had around 5,000 steps, while other days (like today) I had 11,000 steps (due to an evening run).

Here are five tips to utilize in your every day life that can help you step away from your desk and add a bit of fitness to your daily routine. Even minor changes can make a big difference in your health and well-being!

1. Take The Stairs: Not only do me and my coworker, Stephanie, take the stairs every day, we also outdo ourselves by climbing the stairs above and beyond the floor we work on! Since we work on the 2nd floor, and our building as only 4 floors (5 including the stairs to the basement), we walk the entire length of the stairwell each morning before we start work! Walking the stairs is great for the calves (mine are sore now)!

2. Park Far Away: We have an enormous parking lot at my place of employment. Even when I don't have to, I park on the far end of the lot to get a brisk walk in before heading inside the office. This gives me a bit of sunshine and helps me wake up before it's crunch time at the computer. Unless it's raining, it's actually a very enjoyable jaunt! If you park far away, you'll inevitably have to revisit that morning walk at the end of the day when leaving for home!

3. Walk at Lunch: On my lunch break, before I grab my grub, I will take a stroll around the perimeter of our building (outside if it's nice, inside if it's rainy). Not only does this break up the monotony of being in the cubicle, it also helps speed up my metabolism and offset any "bad" foods I might be eating for lunch that day (carbohydrates, fats, sugars).

4. Set Calendar Reminders: Calendar reminders are a godsend at work; they help remind me when upcoming meetings are taking place when I lose track of time or completely forget! A little tip is to add workouts and walking appointments (or other cardio activities) on your Outlook or other desktop calendar. Set a reminder a couple of hours ahead of time, and you'll be more likely to actually follow through with your scheduled activity!

5. Have Fun With It!: Walking seems boring, but it can be fun! Simply "challenging" coworkers, friends or family in a format similar to the Statewide Walking Challenge can add an element of competition and excitement to an otherwise mundane activity. Doing it with a friend, walking the dog (or a friend''s dog), walking in a scenic park, or even at a shopping mall can also make walking more exciting!


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