My wife and I just returned from a wonderful vacation Back East. We attended the wedding for my niece in scenic Narragansett, enjoyed an emotional tribute honoring the twentieth year of my father’s passing in rural Exeter, then hopped a train in quaint Kingston for the hectic mania of NYC.
During all of the above, my wife, embracing a new fitness kick (hmm, wonder where she got that idea from?), meticulously kept track of all of her steps, using a pedometer. Now, I’ve used pedometers for years, but since I walk basically the same route just about every day, I seldom use one anymore. My loss, by the way, as I still feel they are an excellent tool for not only tracking results, but to assist in motivating, inspiring, and celebrating vital fitness gains and successes.
Since we spent the majority of our time together, I was able to piggyback her step results as if they were my own (except for my morning two-mile walks, from which I added 4000 steps to my daily tally). The goal, by the way, is to shoot for 10,000 steps a day. One mile is approximately 2000 steps, so 10k is roughly five miles. Depending on your size and how fast you walk, you can burn around 100 calories per mile. Add this 500 caloric burn to the rest of your non-sedentary lifestyle, and you can easily see how counting steps, using a pedometer, and walking every day can assist in losing weight and living a healthier, happier, better life.
I am thrilled to report that my wife and I were able to exceed 10,000 steps most days during our two-week getaway. Shuffling through airports, racing from car rental agency to train stations adds up! We averaged well over ten thousand steps per day, which was a big help in balancing all of those extra vacation calories one consumes while away from it all.
But it was while visiting the Big Apple, traversing endless city blocks, that we amassed historical step results. Both days we were in the city we tried to walk to as many destinations as possible, eschewing taxis and the subway, often challenging each other to take one more step, try for one more city block, before yielding to fatigue and hailing a yellow cab. More often than not we amazed ourselves by doing just that and congratulating each other on our results.
Both days on Manhattan I exceeded 20,000 steps—a very good thing! We stayed at a hotel on 57th street. My wife was going to spend a day shopping at Macy’s down on 34th street, while I wanted to prowl the aisles of one of my favorite book stores that was in the financial district. After breakfast, we took off toward downtown with the goal of no taxis or subways unless we were really beat.
Walking twenty city blocks isn’t that difficult, so I was still fairly fresh when I dropped my wife off at Macy’s. But my bookstore was another fifty-plus blocks—at least an hour of more walking! I decided to walk until I was too tired to take another step, then hail a cab. The weather was overcast and humid. My head was covered in sweat. I sucked down the last of my water. I was parched and in need of napkins to mop my damp brow. I ducked into the first friendly shop I found, bought water and grabbed a handful of napkins. Rehydrated and patted dry, I continued my trek. I was crazed, determined not to give in; I stepped in a pothole, twisted my ankle, blistered the soles of my feet, yet I continued onward.
The only reasonably response was to echo what the mountain climber says to those who ask why he climbs that mountain—
“Because it’s there!”
Overlooking blistering feet, a sweat-drippy skull, near-dehydration, and cluelessness as to where my bookstore actually was, I found myself at the site of where the twin towers once stood. The place was alive with activity. Thousands of tourists gawked and stood proudly where those behemoths once guarded lower Manhattan; while men at work did their thing in trying to rebuild what misled cowards tore down.
Me? I was both emotionally taken by where I was and exhausted at how I arrived there. I asked someone who looked like they’d know what I needed to know, and was sent back uptown toward my bookstore, sweaty, beat, and proud to have walked so far in one of the great cities known to man.
I enjoyed a few wonderful, air-conditioned hours of book shopping, continuing to accumulate steps on my wife’s pedometer, far exceeding any previously recorded steps for one day in my life, no doubt. The moral of this story, is that you can stay fit while on vacation, no matter where you are, be it traveling the endless city streets of Manhattan, or the gorgeous beaches of Maui, the wine country in Europe…or right down the road from your house.
The secret is finding the good in the moment, while on vacation or when doing that thing called life we all must do every day. 365.
Until next time…