Mondays with Mike: The 12,000-step program

April 27, 2015 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by
My tracks are being tracked.

My tracks are being tracked.

A few weeks ago I downloaded a new version of my iPhone’s operating system and didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to any changes it included. I’d already read that the update included the Watch app (whether I wanted it or not), but I didn’t know much else.

Then, last week, fiddling with my phone while riding the subway, I swiped my screen and accidentally opened a folder called Health. Up came a fancy graph that showed me how many steps I’d taken so far that day, that week, that month, and my daily average.

So this thing had been monitoring me without my even knowing it. Which was a little disconcerting. But once I got over that little thought, I was gratified to confirm what I knew intuitively: I walk a lot. I’m averaging about 12,000 steps a day.

I’ve learned that’s a pretty healthy total, which is good. Even better, I do this without thinking much about it. But it hasn’t always been the case.

Beth has always liked to walk—to destinations but also, to walk for its own sake, just to be outside, talk (or not), and get a little exercise. I was never crazy about it in the other places we lived because driving was easy and therefore quicker for errands and what not.

Not so in downtown Chicago. Having a car is expensive, you can’t count on parking, and when you can it can cost an arm and a leg. Plus, there’s public transportation, which routinely requires at least a quarter to half-mile stroll to and from stops.

There’s a lot of stimulation, enough to make the steps and the time fly by: People watching, architecture, the lakefront. And concentrations of worthwhile walkable destinations—restaurants, museums, theaters.

On the other hand, it has made me wonder why on earth I didn’t walk more in the other places we lived. In Champaign-Urbana, for example, downtown Champaign is two miles from downtown Urbana. Now, that’s a healthy walk, but not monumental; nevertheless I would never have considered it while I lived there. (Nor would I have considered taking the bus—even though CU has a terrific system.)

I think it was sheer habit as much as laziness. And the sense—accurate or not—that I didn’t have the time. I feel a little silly about all that, even a bit ashamed. Could’ve burned a lot less gas and a lot more calories.

Mostly, though, I am reminded: Listen to Beth.

Sheila A. Donovan On April 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm

I’ve always been a walker. My family didn’t own a car. When I lived in San Diego for a couple of years, I’d get off work at midnight. After getting home, I’d go for a walk. The police always stopped me. They thought I was a hooker or an insane person. Nobody “normal” walked, especially at night time. I’d say “I’m a Chicagoan. I like to walk.” One time I found myself getting into my car to get some milk at a store a couple of blocks away. I said to myself “I’m turning into a Californian!” I pulled back into the driveway, parked my car and walked to the store.

Mike On April 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm

That’s funny that they thought you were a hooker or insane. I had a similar experience one time in Virginia. There was a car dealer located near a mall, I left my car for repairs and decided to walk to the mall (3/4 mile max). They said they’d give me a ride, but I said I’d walk–they really tried to persuade me otherwise. But, I learned why…the sidewalk just ended at one point and I had to dodge cars and then climb up over this big berm…it was like an obstacle course.

jim On April 27, 2015 at 1:56 pm

You are doing well: my average is 6994 to be exact. And that includes giving the phone to a young child to march around the room.

Hank On April 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

I’m on the treadmill as I read this, trying to reach my daily goal of 12,000 steps. Unlike you, most days I have to really work at it. I prefer my Fitbit to the phone though as I never carry my phone at the gym. Still, it is a cool app. And yes, I agree, it is always a good idea to listen to Beth.

Mike On April 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Thanks a lot, Hank:) I thought of you when discovered the app–unless the weather’s really foul, I walk at least one way and most days both ways to work, which is 1.2 miles each way.

bethfinke On April 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I love Hank.


Janet On April 27, 2015 at 7:42 pm

You really said, “Listen to Beth?” God, Mike, now you are doomed.

Mike On April 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm

That happened long ago, Janet. I’ve got Beth, you’ve got AnnMarie

Benita On April 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

Not to mention liberating, Mike. Zero percent of my quickly dying gray matter is being used for inspection stickers, filling tanks, looking for parking, and all the other annoyances that go with car ownership. Their absence from my brain has left more room for batting averages, ERAs and questions like “Do we have enough gin?”

Mike On April 29, 2015 at 8:33 am

Could not say it better BB.

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