My office is currently experiencing what we in the south call second winter. This phenomenon occurs when a facility sets the air conditioning on arctic levels. While the guys who work outside in jeans and boots are comfortable when they return to the office, those of us stuck inside all day freeze.

I’ve taken several approaches to deal with second winter over the course of over a decade with my employer. Sometimes the coat rack full of sweaters – every color of the rainbow to accommodate my outfit – helps me warm up. Other times I turn on the space heater under my desk.

Since refinding Nerd Fitness, I’ve been taking thaw breaks at work. I also call them “non-smoke” breaks. If I were a tobacco user I’d get to go outside, so why not take a couple breaks in the day for some fresh air? Most every morning and afternoon I take a 5-minute walk outside.

I’ve recently purchased a pedometer, so any chance to increase my steps helps my total for the day. If the late adoption of trends was a superpower, I’d be wearing tights and a cape right now. Looking at the accumulation of my walking at the end of the day – how they add up into multiple miles – helps me realize that every single step does count.

Currently, I’m 9 days into a walking streak. Try not to be too impressed. To mark this off my daily checklist, I only need to walk 5 minutes a day. Most days, however, do include more than that. I’ve been doing these 5 minute walks for the past few weeks, but I took a break over a weekend before I realized the appeal of the streak, requiring reset last Monday.

This past Saturday I added a walk to my early morning routine. My coffee pot takes about 5 minutes to brew 4 cups of coffee, just the right amount of time to get about a quarter of a mile logged before getting the day started. My driveway is extra long, so I never actually get on the main road. The walk is low intensity, and I don’t work up a sweat. Sure, I could just set the automatic timer on the coffee pot, but what fun would that be? The past two mornings, my darling love has even joined me.

Sometimes being a runner provides me with the motivation I need to keep with an exercise plan. I have a wall full of medals that say I can train for an event and complete it. A few even say I did fairly well, or at least I did well picking races with few people in my age group.

Other times, however, I feel like the motivation well is dry. I initially started running with a friend, and to prove I could do it. Most of my running friends have entered a different phase of their life and picked up other hobbies.

At this point, I’ve completed 24 half marathons and 4 fulls, so the need to prove anything to myself just isn’t there. Running for time has never really interested me, probably because it requires too much work for something that hinges on variables outside of my control. Weather, allergens, and illness have all come between me and my chosen goal time. This is not to say that the variables are all out of my control, but I don’t like those obstacles either.

I have no interest in running an ultramarathon, or doing speed work, so what does that leave? Instead of a big lofty goal, I’ve decided to go for a more moderate approach to movement. Sustainable, and easily achievable, this strategy helps the small wins accumulate. And small wins add up to increased motivation.

I’m doing traditional workouts, both weights and cardio, but I like the idea of being active. Rather than going for a run before spending Saturday with my family, strolling through the booths at the farmers market with my mom, sister, and the rest of the girls counts as my activity. Playing with my nephew in the pool keeps me moving, even if there is no formal way of tracking or logging it as exercise.

I won’t swear that I’ll never train for a race again, or find myself doing a more traditional plan 6 days a week. I just know that at this point, movement looks a bit different for me. Making activity into a game to help me put one foot in front of the other, leading me down the path to a healthier life.

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