Step Forwards

10 000 Steps a Day: How My First Week Went and Why I am Walking for Cancer Research

In January 2020 I asked my Zumba class participants to vote from a shortlist of charities that I cared about. Cancer Research UK received by far the most votes. I started making plans to raise money through raffles and charity classes. Then lockdown happened. Instead of being creative, I chose to put aside my plans completely in the hope that I would be able to return to my original plans ‘soon.’ A year later and I realised that I hadn’t done anything.
So I decided that if I couldn’t do things ‘in person’ to raise money, then I would start by doing something on my own.

The Cancer Research Website provides plenty of statistical information regarding how many people are affected by cancer, so if you are interested please see the website. However, as much as I can read statistics, and we have certainly been force fed them in the past 12 months, nothing really hits home like personal experience. Cancer Research made my initial shortlist after speaking to many of my participants and hearing their incredible survival stories. It made me want to give something back.

Between this time and now, I have learned that my classes have been affected in a much sadder way. In addition, my drama group lost a much-loved member who had battled cancer for a number of years. As this sadness came closer and closer to home, I became even more determined to do something to make a difference.

I chose a step challenge for a number of reasons:

I could do it on my own, which at the moment is very important.

I wasn’t reliant on equipment, on swimming pools or gyms being open.

I could quantify it.

I signed up when I was working part-time from home and the days seemed long and empty. By the time March came round and it was time to start the challenge I was working full-time in a hectically busy job, back in the office, and time seemed quite a lot less elastic than it first appeared.

To alleviate some of the pressure of fitting in the steps on days when it just didn’t feel possible, I gave myself a minimum amount that I had to reach on every day, which then needed to be made up by the end of the week so by Sunday night each week I had reached 70 000 steps.

I did, however, decide that the classes I taught in a week would not count towards my step count.  I appreciate that this sounds like I am trying to make things harder for myself, but something in me felt like it wasn’t fair to include steps from things I would ‘do anyway.’ This was meant to be a challenge after all.

So how have I done in the first week?

Well, I have been on daily dog walks of varying lengths, including a very long walk on Sunday to make up the steps I had dropped in the week.

I have volunteered to leaflet at work, and have also tried to walk to all my closer appointments, park a little further away from the office, and make sure I have logged all my housework steps, which, being forgetful and living in a 3-storey house, accounts for quite a lot.

I’ve also found some very creative ways to make up steps. The teeth cleaning dance has become an almost nightly routine, as well as cooking-whilst-jogging-on-the-spot and TV-and-star-jumps.

I have done it though. Not in the most straight forward 10 000 steps a day way, but I have achieved 70 000 steps between March 1st – 7th, and I am so grateful to everyone who has sponsored me for motivating me to carry on.

In my next blog I will talk about other ways it Is possible to include movement in to your day from things I have been learning, and I will catch you up on how I have done on the next 10 days of my challenge.

If you would like to donate to my challenge, please see the details below.

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