I Walked 7.55 Kilometers per Day for a Month – [Insights]

May 2017 is ranked number #2 for the monthly average steps I walked since the default pedometer has been running continuously on my phone.

So, in May 2017 I completed an average of 7.55 kilometers or 9,667 steps per day, which burned, according to the pedometer, an additional 347 kcals, on top of the rest of my ‘energy out’ for each day. However, estimates like this are notoriously inaccurate.

Number #1 on the list is September 2014, when I completed an average of 10,256 steps.

This might create the impression that I do a lot walking everyday. But that’s not the case. In fact, most of the months I’m under 5,000 steps; and in many cases even under 3,000 steps per day. And that’s not something I pride with.

Here I will describe the context and provide insights from this involuntary experiment, that may induce more clarity (for me) to what I did and may potential help others as well.

Daily Steps

It was by the middle of the month when I became interested in this. Looking at the charts I decided to try to complete at least 10,000 steps for the remaining days of the month. That’s when it became more like a game. Gamifying aspects of life (lookup ‘game theory’) can be a powerful strategy to improve one’s living.

Case in point: my daily walks were mostly fast-paced; and sometimes combined with short-burst bouts of sprinting. If you walk uptown or downtown Manhattan trying to catch two green lights from 2 subsequent streets, you’ll know what I’m talking about. 🙂

The first thing that I’ll note is that my meal frequency was twice a day, the first meal late morning and the second meal late-evening, just before bed. I consumed more calories than prior to the experiment and this is what probably allowed me to maintain weight. Besides, I had to deliberately overeat and hence consume even more calories every few days, because I was doing some form of bodyweight resistance training (time-off the gym and weight lifting).

I didn’t restrict any macros (carbs, fat, protein) and I didn’t control for macronutrients, but I kept logging all my food (been doing it for several years now) and I prioritized on micronutrient intake – lots of vegetables and plant foods everyday. I also ate more protein than usual (primarily from meat, eggs, and dairy).

I thought that such a liberal approach might lead to increased hunger, poor sleep, and some negative impact on my physiology. To my pleasant surprise, it didn’t (pic below – beginning of June). In fact, the evening feasts, under artificial light, would knock-me out to dreamland immediately.

I learned that walking allows me to become very introspective, and reflective on the overall perspective of my life. It allows me to structure my thoughts and give more insight to matters of importance. I’d be interested to see how this correlates with the activation of the parietal lobe.

Overall, I’m looking forward to repeating this type of experience!

During the past 2 weeks I started experimenting with one meal a day; so, fasting for 22 to 23 hours and eating as much as I can in 1-2 hours. This is extremely convenient for me because I’m kindof never hungry and I can focus on other things (not involving food) for almost the entire day. I am also in the ‘off’ period of cycling caffeine, so I only have a small black coffee in my fasting window, compared to when I consume 2-3 or more black coffees a day.

This seems to be unsustainable though. The involuntary caloric restriction has lead to rapid weight loss (probably a lot of glycogen and water mostly). Since my purpose (starting 2014) has been/is to maintain weight, this is not good.

Even with frequent overfeeding, it’s still not enough (and it’s not pleasant). Of course, I could focus on eating peanut butter, chocolate and very energy rich foods to meet my maintenance calories, but this is not what I want to do, especially when I want my food to provide a lot of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals (vegetables and plant foods), along with adequate protein and essential fats. So, there’s a mismatch…

However, I like this type of timing/frequency a lot! And I’ll try to find ways to use it as often as I can.

Concluding Thoughts

This, somehow, reinforces what I’ve learned from the research I did and from what I’ve written in my book on physiologic stressors. To put it in sophisticated parlance: different stressors and stimuli increase the homeodynamic capacity of the organism. A stressor, in this context, is something that the organism is not used to easily cope with, so it has to imply additional level of functioning (more work) to deal with it.

In other words, rigid strategies, especially for diet and exercise, do not expand or promote the capacity of an organism to function within a varied range of environments. In fact, I think they promote inflexibility and inability to cope with stressors or unfamiliar stimuli. And this type of rationale seems to be quite validated in immunology and when it comes to improving the immune capacity of a living being. But I guess that’s the topic for some other time.

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