A step at a time

Pune, 1 January 2023, 1820 hours:

Just returned from a walk along the busy street nearby. I remember the time when that broad concrete road was nothing but a mud path cutting across this part of Baner. Come to think of it, I remember when the main Baner Road was a narrow partially paved, partially mud kind of road hurtling across fields and wild brush towards the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway (which itself was a narrower younger version of its current robust personality).

I should be able to compete 8 kilometres of walking by end of today. I ended 2022 with an average of 5.9 kilometres per day, which was a marked improvement from the average 4 kilometres per day in 2021 (dropped from 5.2 in 2020). Am proud of the 4km average of 2021 since most of the year I was out on account of an ACL tear, and then recovery post surgery. 2022 was spent slowly building up leg strength and momentum.

I have been walking for most of my life. Prior to age 19, I was an active athlete, sportsperson and Himalayan mountain climber. Then a series of injuries and eventual surgery forced a scale down of sports. With my whole life ahead, I had to take an alternative approach. So I became a mountain walker. My average over the past 33 years is 7.2 kilometres per day, which is built mainly on the 12 km per day high of the 20s and 30s. My 40s saw a huge drop to an average of 3.9 and that too mainly built upon quarterly high-altitude treks of 15 kms a day.

In all probability, my average is probably a kilometre higher than what the phone records, because there’s a bit of daily walking I do without the phone as well. The phone makes it super easy to track walking data. In earlier decades, I used to record my walks by milestones and note them down every day in my diary – a habit I had picked up as a sub-junior athlete. It’s curious how we learn many things as children and then adapt and apply those learnings in different areas of our life as we grow and become adults.

Am currently focusing on taking my annual average up to the 10 km per day mark. The goal for 2023 is 7 per day. The trick is to go as much beyond as you can every day. The challenge is that the difficulty of everyday life gives us credible reason to give in to procrastination and push well-being to the tomorrow.

Living every day as an individual 24 hours has made it much easier for me to maintain the discipline.

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