Reflections On Completing the Diabetes UK 1 Million Steps Challenge

As is evident from my London Bridges Challenge blog, I did manage to complete the 1 Million Steps Challenge during the final day of the challenge and that felt like a brilliant achievement after 3 months of working towards the goal of doing it. But what I'd actually like to speak about in this blog are all of the surprising, interesting and challenging things I learned from doing it.

1. Improved mood and mindfulness
The 1 Millions Steps Challenge required quite a lot of commitment to complete, so this meant often meant walking of a lunch break and definitely after, when not training on track. But what surprised me was that it was actually a really effective mindfulness exercise too, because I was either so focussed on planning my route, how many steps I'd done or taking in my environment and surroundings that I found it all quite a relaxing experience.

2. Discovering new places to enjoy on my door step and new communities of exercise
To mix things up a bit with the challenge and to stop myself from getting bored with walking the same route, it helped me to discover new destinations in my local area and beyond and this seemed to be the case for many of us who participated in my team. So the challenged helped us become more familiar with our neighbourhoods and meant weekends were often spent enjoying the outdoors. I've lived in Wales all my life, but I still found new places to visit further afield too, from the sunflower fields of Rhosilli Bay to the Brecon Waterfalls.

3. 10,800 steps is tough and there will be ups and downs in daily activity
In the early days of the Challenge 10,800 steps was tricky to make on non-running days for me and required a really conscious effort to get up and moving whenever I could. I was a frequent lift-dodger and stair taker and found myself saying 'for the steps' a lot. So I suppose it gave pause for reflection on how active my working day was. It also gave me a perspective on how 'move more' is an important message, but the word 'how' is also an important part of the sentence. I also noticed that not all steps were created equal and that stepping wasn't the same as energy expenditure. For example, more steps were gained through a walk through the park for example than a circuits session or go on the cross trainer.

4. Walking needs planning like running or sprint
Diabetes wise I found that like when I'm training, extended walking sessions required planning in terms of putting a temporary basal pattern on my insulin pump and taking on some fast-acting glucose. There was less of an impact afterwards for me, perhaps with the exertion and intensity being so different.

5. Challenges are made for sharing
Finally and perhaps most importantly is that challenges like this are made for sharing. I was so fortunate that my work colleagues had decided to participate in this challenge before I arrived to work with them and it was brilliant to have each other's support, encouragement and humour when stepping days had gone well or not so good. My husband also took on the challenge at home, so it was great to have someone to go out stepping with on the weekends who was sharing (competitively) the same goal. Then there were the people who did some stepping with me and who weren't doing the challenge, so by me increasing my steps and becoming more active, it influenced those around me to think about it and join in.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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