And My Pedometer Counts Had Been Going So Well . . .

I know that getting a consistent 10,000 steps per day is not really likely to happen in my life at the moment.  I walk a lot, but I just stand still for even longer and standing is exhausting in itself.  So, when I first started using the SHealth app on my phone, I counted my steps for a couple of days and then added a couple hundred more to push me a bit harder.  The total I came up with for the day was 8,200.  And, over the first year and a half that I used the app, I got so that having an average of 8,200 steps per day for an entire month got to be pretty easy. I didn’t necessarily make it every day, but I did more days than not, and was able to make up the excess so that I got the average nearly every month.

Then May 2016 happened.

I got off to a kind of weak start because May 1 was a Sunday and I generally don’t work Sundays.  Alex and I went to see a movie and then walked for about 20 minutes, which works out to about 2,000 steps.  So that’s an average of 2,000 steps per day for the month of May.  Then I was off on May 4 and didn’t get an early enough start to do much walking.  By the time I got my act together, it was starting to get too warm to walk.  On May 7, I worked the municipal election, so I didn’t get my full steps that day, either.  Then I came down with some kind of virus on May 16.  For the next week, it took a Herculean effort to even hit my goal for the day, much less start on the shortage.

So now it’s about bedtime on May 25 and I only have six days left in the month.  I also am still 47,000 steps short for the month, which means that I need to average 7,800 steps per day for the next six days.  Two of these days are my days off, though.  If I don’t do any walking on either of those days,  I need 12,000 steps per day on the four days that I’m working.

Will I make it?  If I remember to do so, I will post on June 1 and let you know.

National Geographic January 2016, Part 1

So far, this issue is going much better than the previous one. Let’s see if I can keep up this momentum.

A couple of times in my life I have traveled somewhere just in time for something interesting to happen.  The most notable of these was my family’s trip to the UK.  I had breast cancer in 2001 (it’ll be 15 years this October and I haven’t seen any sign of it since then, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay at this point) and decided that I wasn’t going to die without ever having been to the UK, so we made our plans.  As we finished the plans, we realized that we’d be there just in time for the Queen’s Golden Jubliee celebrations.  We also were in London on June 7, which was the day of the World Cup match between England and Argentina, a match that England was apparently expected to lose, but which it won.

How does this tie into my National Geographic project?  For 2016, National Geographic is doing a series on the National Park Service in honor of the Park Service’s centennial.  I didn’t even know that 2016 was going to be the centennial for the National Park Service when I planned a three-national-parks-and-a-national-forest trip which includes the oldest National Park, Yellowstone.  This was a complete coincidence.

How National Parks Tell Our Story — And Show Who We Are, by David Quammen, photographs by Stephen Wilkes.

Just like it says on the label, this article goes into the history of the National Park Service and tells how they decided on a single vision for national parks.  The photographs in this one are awesome, even for National Geographic photos.  Wilkes set his camera up at an elevation and took thousands of pictures of parks (Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and West Potomac Park) over one day.  Then he pasted them together into panoramas showing the vantage point through the night and the daytime.

This Is Your Brain on Nature, by Florence Williams, photographs by Lucas Foglia

This is Your Brain on Nature is about the health benefits of getting out and getting some “green time.”  Williams even goes so far as to say that people may have lower incidences of physical ailments if they live within half a mile of green space.  On the other hand, there is the “urban advantage,” where people who live in cities tend to have have longer, healthier lives than those in rural or suburban areas.  Some of the “urban advantage” probably comes from access to health care, and others come from being able to walk to destinations rather than having to travel in a car to get there.  I wonder, too, if the presence of urban parks makes a difference.