Shift Community Builder Nathan was the first member of the team to reach one million steps in the Diabetes UK challenge, in an impressive two months. Here he tells what inspired him and how he managed it….
Having seen firsthand the impact that diabetes can have on peoples’ lives, I was never going to turn down the opportunity to take part in the Diabetes UK Million Step Challenge. Diabetes is a subject close to my heart, and I’ve never been one to let the team down.
Finding my motivation
Walking one million steps in three months sounds a mighty task and a few years ago I would have never managed it. However, as someone who has used a fitness tracker for the last 12 months I have made several lifestyle adjustments to achieve more steps and active minutes per day.
In the three months prior to the challenge starting, I had actually walked over 1.2 million steps. This lowered my motivation slightly as I felt 1 million over the next three months would be too easy. My target of 10 thousand steps was something I had achieved as a minimum every day during the past six months, and this would be all that was required.
Rising to the challenge
A few days in, I realised that the team at Community Sports Trust were not only interested in completing the challenge but were focused on ‘beating’ the other members. This ignited my competitiveness and I knew it was time to up my game. I started thinking ‘could I do this in two months?’ and set out to walk an average of 16 thousand steps per day. My motivation had returned.
Walking has been a part of my daily routine for some time now, and I already take regular strolls at lunchtimes and evenings. Whenever I drive anywhere I park my car further away than I need to, and often go a longer way around in order to squeeze in a few more steps. When I am in the supermarket, I walk up and down every single aisle even if I know I don’t need anything; and one Sunday I resorted to doing laps of my local leisure centre whilst my little boy was in his swimming lesson.
How I achieved it
The fact that the Million Step Challenge has taken place during the summer has no doubt made it easier to complete, and I find walking around my local park on nice evenings an enjoyable and relaxing experience. The weather was not always good however, and some days I did get wet. There was one evening in particular which I remember around mid August. I arrived home from work around 6pm and realised that I had not done many steps that day. It was pouring down with rain and not at all pleasant.
I remember my friend texting, telling me not to bother with my walk that evening and that it didn’t matter if I missed a day. I was of course having none of it. I donned my boots and my waterproofs and headed off in to the storm. An hour later I had walked over three miles and was drying off at home.
It would have been easy to take my friend’s advice, and if I had I wouldn’t have achieved my goal of a million steps in two months. In the end it was all worth it and I feel very proud I was able to achieve it.