Four Million!

I walked my Four Millionth step today!

I feel a little bit guilty bragging about it… the weather was cold, it had been raining, and I didn’t really want to be outside. So instead of walking the long path we have through the woods, I circled the driveway for about twenty minutes, decided it was a bit too chilly for me, and came in. When I entered how much I had walked into my spreadsheet, the all time total read 4,000,002.

A milestone! But because I feel like I basically “gave up” for the day, I’ll just nod and smile. Don’t open the Champagne just yet, save it for a truly Important Event.

I really don’t add up the miles. I set my watch for a certain length of time and walk as fast as I can, using my Pedometer to keep track of how many steps I’ve covered. If I walk the same amount of time several days in a row, the number of steps should go up as my body gets used to the amount of exercise. If it doesn’t (and you have to allow for slight variations from day to day) there may be a problem. Defective hearts usually develop problems over time – sometimes so slowly that it isn’t noticeable. Monitoring your level of exercise could tip you off to any deterioration in your health before it becomes too big to handle.

Occasionally, you should reset your Pedometer. Mechanical Pedometers figured a pre-set distance every time you took a step. It was usually set to advance the distance of an “average” person’s stride, but the newer electronic Pedometers can take into account the length of your stride, not the average. Before you use it, the manufacturer recommends that you stand with your bare feet in a pan of water, step out, and then walk ten steps at your normal pace and stride. Now quickly – before your footprints evaporate – measure the distance covered by your footprints and divide by ten. The answer is your stride measurement. Enter this information into the Pedometer, and you are ready to go!

Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart strong and functioning. If your heart ever has a crisis, it may need whatever reserves it can find to keep the system going. Living with a Congenital Heart Defect means that I don’t have much reserve. So I need to do what I can to build them up – and walking does that for you. My doc in Atlanta was quite pleased; he once told me that I had probably added 10 to 15 years to my life just by walking.

You don’t have to run a mile the first day you start – doing that would almost certainly lead to an injury; and I’ve never ran a step – but grab your sneakers and enjoy a nice brisk walk!

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