During a long day of shopping and walking yesterday, I officially hit 500 miles for the year. I've had a Fitbit (fancy digital pedometer) since October, but early this year I thought it would be interesting to track my mileage more closely. I've only forgotten to wear it one day this year, so the measurement is probably fairly accurate. I've never calibrated it to my stride, but a little casual spot-checking with known distances showed it slightly underestimating, which is acceptable to me. It sometimes over-counts steps, especially if I'm walking back and forth across a small room, and it will often log a couple hundred steps during a car or bus ride. I partially offset this by taking it off when I get home from work, so it doesn't record anything for the last few hours of my day (during which I'm probably up and down the steps a dozen times, among other things).
About 120 of those miles are from the two-mile walk I take every weekday at lunch. Quite a few of the rest are from geocaching and shopping on weekends. But a lot of them are just from going about my day. The last week has been higher than average because I've taken the bus to work every morning, and I have to walk around back to get in the building that early. I sometimes discount the value of walking I would've done anyway, like it only counts if I sectioned it off and declared it exercise. But that sort of general lifestyle walking is what they tell you to strive for. Park farther away at the mall, take the stairs instead of the elevator (I've taken the stairs in the parking garage to meet Ken every night after work since January 2011).
Of course, I also hear stuff like "walking is not exercise" and "walking won't make you lose weight." But the chance of me joining a gym is absolutely zero, and I'm pretty sure walking is better than not walking. I'm in better shape than I would be in if I didn't do it. Which enables me to walk more and farther. Which makes me happy.
My lowest day so far this year was 3588 steps/1.89 miles, the day we bought our new TV in January. All we did was stand around Best Buy and then come home and unpack electronics. My highest day was 21191 steps/9.45 miles, yesterday. (I did a lot of shopping.)
At the start of the year, I idly thought I might try to get 2000 miles, or 2012. Looking at my averages, that isn't likely. But I could strive for 1900, which I'm currently on track for (I usually run a little under, but it's been a busy week).
My lunch walk is probably the best habit I ever forcibly ingrained in myself. I started slowly, just looping around the back of the library on my way back from lunch. There's a pretty canyon back there. When that didn't feel like enough, I added a hill at the end (I was always out of breath at the top). Then I added a loop to make it a mile (and let myself cool down). Then I added another loop to make it 1.5 miles. Then I added another hill. Then I added a last loop to make it two miles. Then I changed one part of the route to make the hill steeper. I considered that the asskicking alternate version; now I do it every day. It's no longer challenging, but I only have two miles to play with because my lunch hour is not infinite. I could try to go faster, which would enable me to sneak in a little more distance, but I am reluctant for various reasons -- I don't really enjoy walking 4mph, for one thing, and I don't want to be sweaty when I get back to work, because I don't have time to shower. (I will not run; I've seen a lot of Couch to 5k injuries, and I'm sure my form is terrible. Running's a whole nother game. I will only run if a bear is chasing me or if I'm about to miss a bus.)
Anyway, my lunch walk has become something I enjoy a lot; it's my time to relax in the middle of the workday. The route has become so familiar that my feet just do it without me, and I spend the time thinking about stuff or listening to music. It's almost meditative. It's the farthest thing from a chore, and even if I feel a little sluggish at the beginning (which I do sometimes) it's fun by the time I hit the turnaround point. I'd miss it if I couldn't do it, but I always do it. It's a habit. And I really like it that way.