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Let’s Get Physical, One Step at a Time

Exercising during the pandemic has been a daunting task, so when I first heard about DCG’s 2021 Step Challenge, I was immediately interested.

I started working out heavily a few years ago, but I had to stop due to medical reasons. Since then, I haven’t been motivated to exercise, especially during the pandemic. I knew this challenge could be a great way to ease back into an exercise routine.

The Start of Something New

I went into the challenge with the mindset that I wasn’t going to win, but I was going to have fun. During the first week, I began walking around a shopping area near my apartment. I found this route to be too busy and the next day I went walking behind my apartment complex. That’s where I discovered a quiet area with townhomes and a minimart. This became my daily walking spot.

Each day, I logged off around 4 p.m., so I was able to go for walks in the daylight. Walking up and down the blocks near the townhomes while listening to music was incredibly relaxing. Living in a studio apartment can be difficult, and it was nice to get out and breathe in some fresh air after work while walking around my neighborhood.

My favorite tree on my walking route.

My Week One Recap: 43,540 steps
DCG Week One Winner: Kate Flanagan, 131,959 steps
DCG Week One Total: 2,292,157 steps

We Can’t Stop

Week two was a bit easier and I found myself wanting to get outside each day. I also started taking the stairs instead of the elevator, normally something I never did because I live on the fifth floor. I found myself pacing or jogging in place to get more exercise during meetings and virtual trainings.

At the start of the challenge, I set my daily goal to be 10,000 steps. I began to take longer walks and on April 16, I reached over 10,000 steps!

DCGer Kate Turner hiking Weverton Cliffs on the Appalachian Trail.

My Week Two Recap: 48,239 steps
DCG Week Two Winner: David Watson, 91,815 steps
DCG Week Two Total: 1,352,932 steps

How Do You Like Me Now?

I went into week three more motivated than before. With such great progress during the previous week, I knew I could reach some new goals. I even got access to the gym in my apartment so I could try new exercise routines.

Walking on the treadmill was really relaxing and I was able to watch Netflix during my workouts. I enjoyed being inside and doing a more intense workout made me feel more energized. During week three, I really wanted to get over 10,000 steps each day and that was easy while on the treadmill. I was so excited when I saw my weekly step count was over 90,000! I felt even more proud when it was announced that I was the weekly winner.

The day I reached over 20,000 steps!

DCG Week Three Winner: Me, 99,329 steps
DCG Week Three Total: 1,277,310 steps

Go Your Own Way

During the last week of the challenge, I was a bit less motivated — my birthday was that week, and I wanted to take a day off from walks and workouts. Week three really took a toll on my body so I knew I needed to take it easy during the last week of the challenge.

I used this week as a cool down, mixing outdoor walks with gym time. I felt better towards the end of the week as I was getting back into the swing of it. At the end of the week, I had over 47,000 steps and I was proud of all I had accomplished.

DCGer Beth Schwartz walking her dog along the Anacostia River.

My Week Four Recap: 47,362 steps
DCG Week Four Winner: Chelsea Greco, 58,128 steps
DCG Week Four Total: 949,282 steps

Closing Time

For my first step challenge, I thought I did well. It was nice to get out of my small apartment and explore my neighborhood. I found that walking each day gave me something to look forward to and going to the gym wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be.

Another thing I loved about the challenge was seeing my fellow DCGers’ improvements as well. We had a DCG team check-in, giving everyone an opportunity to share their stories and progress. Overall, I found this challenge to be very motivating and uplifting and I can’t wait for the next one.

DCGer Hannah Meyer-Petrin completing a half marathon.

My Total: 238,470 steps
DCG Total: 5,871,681 steps

Here is what some of my fellow DCGers had to say about their 2021 Step Challenge experience:

Caitlin Donovan
For me, I have mastered the “active meeting” and have taken any call possible while on the treadmill (that has awkwardly taken over my office).

Taylor Grant
Now, when I want to pick up lunch or an iced coffee, I’ll think for a second if I have time to walk there instead. So nice to get some fresh air and sunshine instead of jumping in the car.

Alexandra Hristodoulou
I have garnered a whole new appreciation for the walking meeting! I noticed it helps me speak more openly and think a bit more creatively than when I am looking at my screen.

Hannah Meyer-Petrin
This challenge has been a HUGE help in getting out of my running “rut” and giving me a tangible daily goal to work toward.

Chelsea Radler
There’s something amazing about eliminating multi-tasking distractions and moving my body forward during a conversation that I think helps push my thinking forward, too.

Kim Van Wyngaardt
I love these challenges, and even though I’m not destined to “win,” it is so motivating, and I love that I get to do this with my friends and colleagues.

Let’s Get Physical, One Step at a Time was originally published in DCG Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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