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~Tuesday~ At the beginning of this month, my friend Hugh Hollowell posted a video on Facebook called, 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

If you haven't seen that very compelling 9-minute video already, go ahead and watch it. I'll wait.

Can't make the investment right now, but want to know the answer? It's: "Walk for at least 30 minutes a day."

After watching it, in a public blog post on January 2nd I made this comment about it: "This seems doable."


I took that to heart—figuratively and literally—and I set out on a mission to do just that—at least for the month of January. Here is a summary of my daily progress:

[Click to enlarge] Chart showing a walk every day of the month of January starting on the 2nd. My average walk was 52 minutes long.
Background photo: Gardner Street (Near my work building, where I did a lot of my walking this month.)

As a nice side effect, my weekly weigh-ins showed this progress:

Chart showing a weight loss of 15 pounds for the month of January.Background photo: Random chubby white guy getting thinner way faster than is humanly possible.


As you might surmise, there's another variable at work here, because losing weight has two components:

More Calories Out + Fewer Calories In

Obviously, to lose that much weight, I also worked on that second component this month.

Some of you know I use (the absolutely free, or I wouldn't use it) dailyburn.com to track my eating and exercise. Here is the "My Calendar" page, which summarizes my calorie intake from eating and my calories burned from exercising, for the month of January.
Dailyburn January calendar showing calories eaten and calories burned

The calories burned by walking are included in the "Cals Burned" amount, which also includes calories burned while doing ab crunches and upper and lower body weight work whenever I did those in addition to my walking for a particular day.

If you've never used dailyburn.com, and you're curious about what it looks like recording a day's worth of your eating, I've included an entry below. (And yes, as you can see, I do include my bourbon intake in my food diary.)


Here are some reflections about this month's experience:

  • What I love the most about this way of exercising is that I can do it anywhere. I can just set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, walk until it beeps, and then turn around and walk back. No gym membership required. (Although I do have one, and I get my walk in on the treadmill when the weather isn't conducive to an outdoor walk.)

  • I loved doing my walks at lunch time at work for a couple of reasons:

    1. It got me away from my desk at lunch time, instead of remaining there and working through lunch, which is what I've traditionally done.

    2. My "required" exercising was already done once my work day ended.

  • I started off making elaborate notes about my walks, such as in this entry, but by the end of the month, I cut way down on that.

  • Making notes in the "How I physically felt while walking" section got rather repetitive and was hyper-focused on my knees.

  • I was surprised at how quickly I wanted to walk beyond 30 minutes; I guess it was the "Since I'm already out here..." mentality.

  • Toward the end of the month, I found myself seeking out opportunities to walk whenever the weather was conducive to it, and I had time to. Three examples come to mind:

    1. After having some drinks at a bar, I was going to a nearby theater for a show. So I parked at the theater, and walked to the bar and back to the theater when it was time for the show. I not only got an extra 10 minutes of walking in, since I parked so early at the theater there was ample parking available.

    2. When I went to see Memphis, I parked midway between the theater and downtown where I had a quick dinner before the show. So, I walked to the restaurant, back past my car and to the theater, and then back to my car after the show, which ended up being an additional 30-minute walk for the day.

    3. After a work meeting in a building about 20 minutes from my house, instead of taking the bus like I normally do, I just walked home. I also turned down the offer of a ride, so I could walk.

  • I realize I'm not going to be able to keep losing weight at the same rate that I did in January. Two pounds a week is more realistic going forward. At least until I hit a plateau—or fall off the wagon.

  • The difference between where I was in terms of eating and exercise—both mentally and physically—at the beginning of the month and now, is just plain astounding.


So, it was such a success that I think I'll try it again in February. If you're intrigued—or need another sliver of motivation to try this yourself—and you haven't yet invested in that nine-minute video, here it is again for your convenience.

My hope, if you need to get some regular exercise, is that it will "speak to you" in the way that it did to me.

And, finally, I'd like to give a big thanks to Hugh for bringing that video to my attention at a time in which it really spoke to me.

Go to February's Walking Challenge 2012 Entry | See All Walking Challenge 2012 Entries



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU for sharing this, John! This is wonderful for you, and motivational for me haha! I am going to start walking that trail Rhonda sent out about the Rose Garden every day!
Feb. 1st, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
Re: Hey!
Thank you! And YAY! :-)
Feb. 1st, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Proud of you for this project! Love the data and your presentation. You should contact the creator of the 23 1/2 hours video and share your blog posting. I am sure it would be appreciated.
Walk On, my friend!
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: Awesome!
Thank you, my friend! I tweeted him about it. :-) No response yet.
Feb. 16th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
I'm sure all of the great scenery on campus didn't hurt the motivation to walk during lunch :)
Feb. 16th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
You're on to me! ;-)
Karen Rae Fraser
Feb. 29th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)
thanks for the encouragement
I am glad you reminded me of this post. I hadn't viewed the video until just now. It is motivating. and I really enjoyed the art work.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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