I’m getting ready to take a walk this summer – a very long walk. In fact, I’m planning to walk around the world.

I won’t be doing this alone. I’ll be with a group of women who work out at the Curves in Chanhassen.

Curves often sponsors events and activities that give us extra incentive to keep up or ramp up our exercising. Sometimes it’s a game, such as Bingo cards in which each square says something like “Work out three times this week” or “Attend a Zumba class.” Other times it’s a race, with prizes going to those who lose the most weight or inches over a set period of time.

This summer, the goal is to walk around the world in 80 days. The owner of Curves figured out how many steps it would take to circle the globe, how many people it would take, and how many steps a day they would have to register. It’s roughly 75 people, taking 10,000 steps a day.

I don’t know why things like this motivate me so much, but they do. They make a game out of things I know I should be doing anyway. And they give me a personal challenge and a goal to work toward. For me, the biggest incentive doesn’t come from competing against others, but from competing against myself.

Like many people who spend much of the work day sitting in front of a computer, I know I usually don’t get as much movement in as I should on a regular basis. I’ve read all the advice that suggests getting up from my desk every half hour or so and doing something aerobic, even if it’s just marching in place for a few minutes or taking a quick stroll around the block. But reading advice is not the same as following it, and even with good intentions, or by setting a timer as a reminder for myself. I’m usually not motivated enough to stop what I’m doing and put it into practice. But now, with a goal of walking around the world, I find myself looking for ways to take more steps every day. It also helps to be part of a team and know that others will be counting on me to pull my weight.

Our instructions are to wear a pedometer, Fitbit, or anything that gives us an idea of how many steps we are taking, and report that number whenever we go to work out. I have a “passport” that gets stamped whenever I’m there, and I can check our collective progress on a world map that is now hanging on the wall. I don’t know how many people are taking part, but it took us just a few days to get from our starting point in Minneapolis to somewhere in Wisconsin. I’m already looking forward to reaching the east coast and walking across the ocean.

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I don’t know how many steps it will take us to get to China, but I do know we’re on our way. And we’ll get there, one step at a time.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on June 23, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016

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