Our longtime EverWalk EPIC family member—and serving as Ambassador for us in Austin, TX—Beth Brooks, has kindly written a guest blog for us this week. Check out Beth’s personally-acquired advice as to how to get your daily steps in, even when weather or a dip in motivation attempt to talk you out of it.

I’m excited to be part of this EverWalk website — devoted to people who share information for those who are new to walking , have loved walking all their lives, or who want a community of sharing with walking friends.

This post is for those who need a few suggestions on getting some steps in each day.

Friends who are not into walking are always amazed at how I get 10,000 steps in every day (OK, maybe 355 days of the year).  When I got my Fitbit years ago, a colleague commented that she had one too.   She sighed and said that it was so hard to get in 10,000 steps.  I replied, “Yes, it takes extra effort to get those in each day”

She almost choked as she sputtered “A day?  I can’t get 10,000 steps in a week!”.

So, I thought I would share how walking has become a part of my daily life.  I do not plan to walk really long distances, except when training for the EverWalk Epic walks.  It just happens, and I average 10,000 (4.5 – 5 miles) each day.

Here is how I get my steps in each day:

Walking the Dog. Many of you can identify with this.  Twice a day, rain, or shine, I take our dog Buddy out for a walk. It is his walk, and we go where he wants to go.  But that adds up to a mile+ every day.

Work.Can you walk while do your work? For over 35 years, I have done walking staff meetings. One or two employees will walk with me as we try to figure out an issue, or just to catch up on what we are working on. No need to sit down during those talks! You can get a lot done in 20 -30-minute walks.

During the last seven months (pandemic) while we all worked remotely, I noticed a lot of people in my neighborhood walking during all hours of the “workday” … talking as they walked. At first, I thought they were talking to friends on their phones. But when I inquired, they said they were listening to zoom calls, talking to co-workers, or making sales calls. They all said that it was a great way to get their walks in, and work at the same time. So, if you have that opportunity, don’t sit at the desk – walk and work!

Getting Continuing Education. Most days I try to get in an early morning/evening walk. I go by myself and listen to a podcast. I learn the most interesting things. Some are work-related, but I mostly listen to things I don’t know about. Two of my favorites are on NPR – Hidden Brain and Fresh Air. Each one is about 45 minutes. I love the variety of subjects on podcasts and the time just flies when you are listening to one that really intrigues you.

Along those same lines…. listen to music. I think this is a go-to favorite thing for most walkers.  Do you want some upbeat music to help walk a bit faster? Or soothing music to calm you? Music is a great choice for enjoying your walk at bit more. And listen to music you normally wouldn’t listen to. You might just like it! 

Taking a Walking Break. Walking is a mental break. Whether you are frustrated with a co-worker, trying to sort through prioritizing what needs to get done, or exhausted after your fourth Zoom meeting of the day, taking a walk around the neighborhood/workplace saves the day every time. A great time would be during a lunch break. I always have a pair of socks and sneakers under my desk.

Just take fifteen minutes and go! Observe the trees, the people, the weather, the yard decorations. Really, I try to think of nothing. So, I come back and haven’t solved all the issues, but my mind is calm, and I am much more focused and ready to dive back into work or life. You don’ t have to DO anything on your walk but put one foot in front of the other and just enjoy the walk.

Running an Errand. I live in the Austin city limits, but outside my community, we are surrounded by two highways.  Walking to do errands is not that easy. (I am always so jealous of EverWalkers like Jade,  Nancy, Joelayn or Laura, who always seem to be walking to cool shops and coffeeshops.) But it can be done.

On the weekends, when the weather is nice, I like to walk to the library (three miles one way), or the other way, up to the grocery store (three miles). When my car gets serviced, I walk home (two miles). I feel a real sense of accomplishment during those walks.

Remember, they all add up: I try to park at the far side of a parking lot; I always take the stairs at work ( I work on the sixth floor); I fake-walk when brushing my teeth; when standing and talking to someone for more than three minutes, I walk in place.  On a good day, those count for around 400 more steps!

A note about walking in the dark: Now that daylight savings time has taken place, it gets dark really early. Many walkers have purchased vests that light up – you have to be visible if you are going to walk in the dark. I have a dog collar that lights up and is rechargeable for Buddy. If you have sidewalks, there is no reason why you can’t walk after dark. Just make sure people can see you, and as an added caution, walk with someone.

Do you have suggestions for people that want to walk more?  We welcome your suggestions.