Monday, August 14, 2017

Some Walking Stats

If you've read my blog for very long, you know that I'm an avid walker. I've always enjoyed walking. When I go for a week or so without walking, I just start feeling bad. It is always so good and invigorating to take a good walk after a period of inactivity.

We moved to our new home a little over a year ago. I took my first walk at Rio Concho West on June 25, 2016. I'd like to share some of my walking stats for the past year (June 25, 2016 to June 25, 2017).

I use a GPS tracker every time I walk or hike. Most of the data I'm about to share is from walks, and most of those are from Rio Concho West, where I live. Some of the data comes from hikes we've taken in the past year, and some of the data comes from other walks we've taken, such as out at the state park or other local walking venues. Overall, my GPS tracker works well, but on occasion, it does err. So my data, for the most part, is about 99% reliable. As a result, the data I'm sharing is actually less that what I really walked.

As a rule, I try to walk every other day. However, due to trips we may take, illness, laziness, and other circumstances, I sometimes may miss several days. From June 25, 2016, to June 25, 2017, I walked 397.9 miles on 105 days. So, that means I am actually walking only about every 3.48 days. Well, we do travel quite a bit. And that also means that I average 3.79 miles per walk.

For health purposes, I feel you must walk at a fairly brisk pace for at least 30 minutes to get any true benefit. For me, that means I have set 2 miles as my bare minimum for any walk I take. In reality, I almost always walk at least 3 miles per outing. Health benefits from regular walking include the following:
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. (The main reason for my doctor encouraging me to walk)
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.
For a while, I was focused on speed and distance. My goal was to walk at least 4 miles at an average clip of less than 17 minutes per mile. I sustained this for a while, but found that this caused my feet to hurt. I tried different things, such as putting cushions in my shoes and using double socks. These measures helped, but the foot pain continued, causing me to miss walking at times.

Today, I am satisfied to walk shorter distances at slower speeds. As a result, I may not walk as far, but I am walking more often with fewer interrupted periods. I am averaging between 3.5 and 4 miles per walk now, and I usually average 17½ to 18 minutes per mile. This seems to be working well for me at this time.

I find that when I stop walking for a period of at least 1 week or more, it is hard for me to get myself restarted. For example, I was ill in May for a while and did not walk for 2 weeks. When I did resume my walks, they were very short, just over 2 miles. Prior to that, I had been averaging more than 4 miles per walk. I am just now getting back to the 4 mile range. Yes, as you get older, it becomes more difficult to recover from down times. But since that time, my walking has been more consistent. For example, from June 28 to July 28, I walked 13 days (that is a walk every 2.3 days as compared to the 3.48 days cited above) for a total of 44.85 miles. If I continued this for a year, my annual total would be 538.2 miles walked on 156 days. I doubt I'll accomplish that due to travel, illness, and other interruptions, but the consistency this past month has certainly been good.

For now, I just plan to keep on walking as often, as far, and as fast as I comfortably can.

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