“Psychological studies reveal that 95 percent of everything we feel, think, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!”
I lost 50 pounds in the middle of the school year (December-May). I remember thinking that if I could find a way to move more at work, it would make what I had to do after work less. Simple right? But, we miss daily opportunities to move more. Anyone who’s known me for an extended period of time knows I’m not the biggest fan of exercise. Now, as I’m living a healthier lifestyle I don’t mind it as much, and actually like some of it. However, I still figured if I could find a way to move more at work, that would compound my efforts at home.
So, my challenge to you is to find opportunities to move more. I’m not talking about anything crazy, just how can you incorporate more walking into your day? If you are a teacher, what about passing time? I can walk a mile in about 17 minutes, and that’s not a crazy pace. If you are on a 7 period day like us, (each 5 minutes), how far could you get in 2 minutes? I know administrators want teachers in the hallways greeting kids at the door and monitoring behavior. How much better if you are actively moving in the halls greeting kids and being mobile?! You look like the teacher of the year. And, get as far as you can in 2 minutes, then turn around and head back. That’s 4 minutes, and you still have one minute to greet the stragglers at the door and start class when the bell rings. “This is too small of a deal to make a difference,” you say. I say multiply that by 6, not counting your prep period, and you have 24 minutes of walking in. If you use my pace as general rule you’ve just walked close to 2 miles with just a tiny change in behavior.
Now, I said don’t count your prep period. If you are on a block schedule, you have no excuse not to walk for at least 20 minutes on your prep. Now, I can hear people say, “I’m supposed to be working, that’s tax payer time.” Ok great. You can’t read student work or grade papers while you’re walking? If you’re worried about bumping people in the hallways walk outside. Do you need to go to the office? Do it, and then stop by and talk to that other teacher or drop off that set of tests. Whatever, we all can find ways to move more. If you can find a way to walk 20 minutes during your prep along with the added 24, you’re now at 44 minutes of walking (roughly 2.5 miles).
But, I’m not done. You have probably 30 minutes for lunch. Does it take you 30 minutes to eat? Probably not. Why don’t you grab a friend you eat with normally anyway, walk for the first 10 or 15 minutes of your lunch, you can talk like you always do, get caught up on whatever you guys are interested in and you’re getting some walking in. Then go back to one of your classrooms and eat there. If we take the low estimate, 10 minutes, now you’re up to 54 minutes and probably 3 miles.
And, finally what if you never sat down during instruction time? What if, while students were working, you were intentionally walking up and down the rows of desks? I know that seems weird, and maybe your students would think its weird at first, but once they realized that is just what you do, it would seem weird if you went back to your computer to check your email. I bet you could walk at least a mile daily while you’re teaching. Someone get a pedometer and try this out please. Even worst case scenario you just walked 4 miles in a day. Multiply that by a work week, and you just walked 20 miles at work with very little behavior change.
I would love to hear your feedback. When I first got a pedometer and started tracking, I was walking 3-3.5 miles daily. By the end of the school year, I was walking 5.5-6.5 every day and being immeasurably more productive.