- Written by Jessica Riel & Marcus Chiaretto
- Published: 07 February 2018
What does it take to walk across America?
How far is it across the continental United States? As the crow flies, says Debbie Mumblo, LifePath’s executive assistant and office administrator, “it’s somewhere around 2,530 miles from here to the west coast, so that averages out to about seven miles a day; 6.93 miles, if you want to get technical.”
As part of a New Year’s resolution to focus on fitness, Debbie is participating in what’s known as a “walk across America” challenge. The goal of the challenge is to walk the equivalent amount of steps that it would take to cross the United States in a line from one coast to the other over the course of one year – about 5,060,000. Using a pedometer bracelet, Debbie is able to track the distance that she’s walked each day to ensure that she meets her goal.
“I first heard about it through my daughter,” Debbie says about how she became interested in trying the walking challenge. “She’s been tracking her fitness and health goals for years, so when she told me about this new goal, I thought it would be fun to give it a shot.”
Debbie had planned to set a more moderate goal for herself of 5,000 steps per day in the new year, but decided to increase this more than threefold to 17,000 steps a day – and so far, she’s been reaching her target. “I have walked more than seven miles a day on a lot of the days,” she says, which helped her catch up on the few days she was not feeling up to the challenge. At the end of January, Debbie had walked 546,827 steps (231.97 miles) since New Year’s Day!
So just how does she do it? Debbie says she hasn’t changed her daily routine too much, but instead figured out ways to work extra steps into her normal activities. Debbie rises early and usually watches some television before heading off to work. Now, she marches in place while the TV is on. “I start marching at 5,” she says, either while watching recorded episodes of her favorite show, Crime Watch Daily, or by following along with a Jenny Ford fitness video. Watching something while getting her morning steps in is “more fun and it seems to go by faster than it would if I was just marching,” says Debbie. “I don’t think about what’s hurting.” Typically, by the time she heads into work for 9, Debbie has already banked 12,000 steps.
Once she’s in the office, Debbie continues to rack up the steps as she addresses various workday tasks around the building. After work, a shopping trip to the grocery store with her fiancé also adds some additional numbers to her tally. And once she’s back home for the night, if she hasn’t already reached her daily goal, she will march in place until she does.
Some other tips Debbie shares include parking farther away from a building and taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Right now the Jenny Ford video is a good fit, because it is high- and low-impact, so she can opt out of doing the high-impact movements if it’s too much. “Once I get my lungs built up, then I’ll go onto a longer or more demanding video.” And when the weather warms up, says Debbie, “I plan to walk and hike.”
Debbie’s goal isn’t just to have an impressive number of steps to her name in 2018. She’s also hoping to lose some weight and become healthier, and she wants to feel and sleep better in general. “I’m carrying a lot of Debbie Mumblo around,” she says, but her joints already hurt less. “I’m loosening things up a bit, and I am sleeping so much better when I go to bed at night.”
Debbie encourages others to join in the challenge. “It can be a little tough, but it’s so rewarding to see just how far you’ve gone at the end of the day. If I wake up and I feel tired – well, too bad! I don’t want to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t get in my miles that day, so that’s a good motivator.”
Debbie’s positive outlook must surely help, too. “I’m not finding it as hard to do as I thought it would be,” she says. “If I put my mind to it, I know I can do it, because I did it yesterday.”
Stay tuned each month to hear more stories of how LifePath staff are staying physically and mentally active!