By Les Besser

My dear wife, Susan, enjoys walking and takes our labradoodle for long, leisurely strolls. As a former runner, I prefer faster-paced activities, like soccer and volleyball. Gradually I’ve switched to racquetball and table-tennis—and more recently to tennis. However, when Susan showed me the new pedometer the Fitness Department sold her after signing up for the “Coast to Coast Walking Challenge” program, my curiosity perked up. By the end of Week One, she proudly announced her results and said, “You can still sign up!” Knowing how I feel about walking, she probably figured that I would not do it.

Interestingly, I took her statement as a challenge. Even though I did not think I could match the number of steps she takes during her walks, I might come close during tennis games and gym workouts. So, I agreed to join the activity. The next day, our Fitness Manager Alison Brown enrolled me, and I became part of the program. Then something surprising happened.

To accumulate as many steps as possible, instead of driving our car to LCG activities, I’ve switched to walking. I found myself making excuses to visit residents who live on the other side of LCG. I’ve also significantly increased my dog-walking distances and tennis games. In the gym, I have tripled the time I spend on the elliptical machine.

The results are amazing. My best performances have been nearly 26,000 steps in one day and 149,000 in a week. Two months ago, if anyone told me I could do that, I would not have believed it.

Walking is also leading to unexpected benefits: the slower pace allows me to observe the songbirds serenading in the riparian section of the LCG trail. Striding along provides continual opportunities for me to correct my posture. And coincidentally, I’m losing weight!