Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Small activities can have big payoffs

Four posts ago I wanted to talk about small things we do for ourselves that can bring huge benefits but then I took a detour but it’s ok, it’s all related. 

Comparing myself with others, I realized that I was not in such a bad shape to start with. I’m not an athlete by any means but I was in good enough shape to do almost anything and I was wondering how come…

I think what maintained me in a relatively good physical shape is the small things I did and do every day.

When I was working, my office was located on the 6th floor. I took the stairs whenever I could. I could climb up and down those stairs 4-5 times a day, it adds up quickly. I still take stairs wherever ever I can.

When I started taking the stairs, it was tough. After 2-3 floor, I would slow down to catch up my breath, but in no time, I could easily climb those stairs.

If I go to a store, I don’t park by the door. If you are looking for my car, it will be by itself at the end of the parking lot. I can’t tell you the number of times I see drivers circling around searching for a spot close to the door. Meanwhile, I have time to get out of my car, and get in the store. If you were to ask those people why they didn’t park in one of the empty spot at the end of the parking lot, a lot of them would probably say they were in a rush… well, guess what, I would beat them to the door every time!

I don’t take my car for errands that are close by. For example, if I go to the front office of our park, I walk. Last weekend my wife commented that it took me less than 10 minutes to walk there and back. OK last weekend the car was parked at the front entrance and we couldn’t drive it to the house but still, in the summer I still walk instead of taking the car. How many people do that? My guess is only a few!

Some of my small activities include, raking and sweeping the pine needles, the leaves and all the other stuff that comes from pine trees, on our 2 lots, every few days, I’ll also do our neighbors’ lot if they’re away, helping our neighbors doing some construction works; they are all good opportunities for being active.

I truly believe that would I have been taking all the short cuts, I would not be in this shape today and I would instead need to lose hundreds more pounds.

In the past 5 days, according to my Vivofit, I walked 85,000 steps. Those steps were NOT a punishment, I enjoyed every one of them, they are a reward. This is what we all can achieve if we just take small steps, every day.

Maybe some people would think they are just too obese to move, they should read about Sean who was walking a quarter of a mile at 505 lbs. Sean’s example made me realize how stores like Walmart who provide electric carts for shoppers, are not helping morbidly obese people. The best thing for them is to walk. The stores are enabling those customers who are one more bite from the grave. It makes no sense to me. I’m sure there are some people who need a cart to get around, but if the pain of walking is from too much weight… See, if someone is drowning because they have tied weights to their feet and you throw them a lifesaver, they might stay afloat a little bit longer but after a while, their arms will tire and they will let go.

Maybe some people think they are just too old to get back in shape. We lived in Europe for several years and we constantly saw people in their eighties going to the market on their bike or on foot. They swept the sidewalk in front of their home daily. In Germany, many towns and villages host Volksmarch which are walks in the countryside with an itinerary for 10 and 20 kilometers; a lot of young-at-heart people just enjoying their time and walking with the younger crowd.

Do you do small things that are helping you physically?

Today is our second day on the road to Florida. We did pretty good yesterday with eating at the restaurant, I even walked over 13,000 steps. 

I'm beat, I'll probably be catching with all the comments and your blog on Friday.  Meanwhile, I'm watching you... so be good, keep the good choices and NO excuses, you can do it!


  1. Small changes that become naturally part of each day, are the best.

    Glad you did well eating out.

    Happy travels. Safe travels.

    1. Thanks Ivy, I guess if I was a cook, I would not use a mixer, just a whisk that would be a great work out... is that what you do? :)

  2. I do the parking thing as well, it's amazing how many people you walk by that are circling the parking lot just trying to get 50 steps closer to the door! I park in the back of the lot at work too; I never have to worry about someone parking in my spot.

    1. I'm thankfull to the one circling the parking lot, they leave more space for us :)

  3. Whaaaaat? I take the stairs instead of elevators whenever I can, and I also do the whole parking at the other end of the lot and walking to the store.

    For that second one, I never thought about it before, but you must have influenced both of us into that healthy habit! Seems perfectly logical to me to park where there's tons of parking and just walk a few extra seconds. How many times did we go somewhere and you just parked us that way? So many times! Thank you! :)


    1. Yes WWE, your mom and I came up with that diabolic idea to have you girls walking a straight line :)

  4. I was once very much like you. I always took the parking spot the longest distance from the door. I walked laps around the parking lot at lunch. Took the stairs when there was that option, etc.

    I don't to that now because I am still recovering from having one hip replaced and need to schedule the second one. I miss it. And I hope that I'll be able to regain what I lost. In the meantime, I'm stalling on getting the handicapped placard.

    1. Hip replacement is very serious but for most the outcome is a better life quality and not be in pain. Walking is very good for you, isn't it?

      The thing to keep in mind is to not do too much, too soon, but some exercise will help you recuperating time... I think!

  5. Great post. Little things add up and make a big difference. I do a lot of that, especially when it comes to the car. And both my husband and I love to walk and cycle, so we get to enjoy the great outdoors and get exercise at the same time. Win-win!

    1. If you can why not take every opportunity to be active. Walking and cycling in good company, what more can we ask?