I Created a New Habit

I Created a New Habit

I created a new habit......I walk....everyday!

I've always been a walker.  I've never been a gym or sports person.  I'm mid 50's, a woman, and I can still get up in the morning and walk a 35km charity walk with little or no training.  But I'm realising with age, that I've been lucky to date.....and time and age may conspire against me.  I know this because there is now a price to pay for walking 35kms in one day with little preparation.

In the past (in my 20's through to my 40's) my walking was either 'incidental', or hiking with a backpack through wilderness.  The daily incidental steps I would take could easily exceed 10,000 steps.  But as life has progressed and situations changed, I found myself being more sedentary (day to day), with less need for those 'incidental steps'.  I knew that I had to change something, to bring a regular form of exercise into my daily routine.

Using an activity tracker was not new to me.  I had used a multi activity tracker to help me train for the Camino in 2019.  This app recorded my walks so that I could see my progression and provide some confidence leading into the Camino.  I didn't use any of the other features.  I did the same when I was preparing for another (shorter) Camino in 2022.  My problem was, if I wasn't preparing for a multi-day walk, or even a charity walk, I just couldn't get into the routine of walking as my daily exercise - which I really wanted to do.

Then, along came the Walksport app.  With this app there are some significant differences (to other activity trackers) that mark a distinction for me. One thing I like about it is, it's just for walkers.  The goal setting (which you can reset at any time) is something that I use,and I especially love how this automatically starts a streak.  A streak is when you hit your goal every day for six (6) days straight.  The seventh (7th) day can be taken as a rest day.  A streak starts at 3 days, then goes to 5, 7, 15, 30 and increases by 30 days right up to a year.  As you hit each milestone, you receive a 'stamp' - which comes up under 'MY WINS' in the app.  When I started using the app, I really didn't think this would make a difference to me - but it really did.  I'm now up to 255 days, and I intend to make it to a year. I love how my 'my wins' page lights up with my medals, badges and stamps. 

Screenshot of Cate's Walksport stats

So why has the Walksport app worked for me?  I set a goal, 3km initially, that I was fairly confident I could hit with incidental walking.  Then, I changed my daily routine- instead of driving to work I started to take public transport, forcing me to walk to and from bus/train stops.  When I could see that I was walking around 4km each day - I increased my goal to 4km.  I now aim for 5km.  I feel like I now approach my whole day differently.  On days when I drive, or when I'm not working, I ask myself - 'when am I going for my walk today?', as opposed to 'am I going to walk today?'.  I love seeing the stamps awarded (under the MY WINS tab), and I'm acutely aware of any days missed - on the home screen in the app.  I look forward to walking again and I make time for it, it's become an essential part of my day (just like I hoped it would).

On weekends, I plan a time that I can at least walk my daily goal but mostly my walks are longer.  I also walk a couple of charity walks each year, which are usually around 30km and some group walks with the Walksport Crowd.  Walksport will help me prepare for my next Camino - the Portuguese, which I plan to walk next year.  The back to back long walking days is where I lack confidence, so once I've got a couple of these in my legs - I feel confident and ready to take on my next challenge.

Picture of Cate
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