01 April 2010

Nike+ Active Challenge

I started a Nike+Active challenge over the weekend!

Last year around this time I was finishing up a Step Challenge at my last place of employment. I faithfully stuck my pedometer on my hip and went to work where I was on my feet for pretty much the whole eight hours. I diligently walked on my days off as well. I liked that this Step Challenge provided equivalent step values for other forms of physical activity such as gardening, yoga, house cleaning, swimming, etc. It gave me the freedom to walk if I wanted or go swimming which I often preferred.

Since then I've wanted to do another step challenge and see it through to the end (I'm pretty sure my team had won on the basis of my effort alone, but I started in Stettler before I found out). But there's really nobody I can challenge or would want to do a step challenge so I felt quite jealous that a friend of mine working in another hospital told me that her work place is doing a site-wide "Biggest Loser" style challenge. I know for a fact that nobody I work with would be up for organizing or doing this challenge: they all shudder whenever I suggest that they come along to the gym with me.

When my brother broke up with his girlfriend and offered to sell me his iPod Nano that she had given him for a Christmas present, I jumped at the chance. It has a built in pedometer which syncs with the Nike+ Active WEBSITE that presents you with about 20 goals. The goals are accomplished by steps taken, but in a more tangible way instead of "YOU MUST WALK THIS MANY STEPS OR ELSE YOU LOSE." it's more like "If you walk 6000 steps you've walked off a donut." Or walked up a ten story building.

Which is great if you've eaten a donut that day.

For a lot of self motivated people who get out and run, swim, or lift weights every day this might not seem like a challenge, perhaps a bit tedious or redundant? Or perhaps it might feel too restrictive in terms of activity: what are swimmers supposed to do? However, for those people who have never or have struggled to make physical exercise a part of their lifestyle this might be the incentive to start and/or keep going with that sense of fun and accomplishment as they walk off a burger and fries, or walk up Mount Everest.

For myself, I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm active but sometimes I need that extra little incentive after a string of night shifts or after a hard day at work. I have to say it's an odd feeling to walk off a donut or hot dog that I've never eaten, or walk up a building I will never see, but a step challenge usually brings out a little bit of my competitive nature. I like to walk, I like to walk fast, and I walk every day at work. And it's rather amusing to have my co-workers ask me why there's an iPod strapped to my ankle.

It's also interesting to note that following my explanation they aren't shuddering at the thought of exercise. They're even asking me how many steps I've walked that day!

I've completed about 5 goals now on the Nike+ Active challenge. Right now I'm working on walking off that burger and fries I never ate. Who would have thought that you would need 2 days of walking to get rid of that?

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