One Step At a Time

For the past couple of months I have been lamenting the fact that I have gained a few pounds and I am now heavier than I was when I was playing ball. Some of the weight gain has been as a result of getting old (by the way Trina is older than me so at least I have that going for me) and some of the weight gain is due to the fact that I am not as physically active as I once was. After sitting and complaining I finally decided that I would try and do something about it. Given my lifestyle where I spend nearly every waking hour in front of a computer monitor or parked at the ballpark I decided that I needed to make some changes and see if I could get back to a weight level I felt comfortable with.

I am not looking for a life changing experience like that Jared guy who is now the spokesperson for Subway. I just wanted to lose around 10 pounds and get more physically active. Trina too wanted to take this challenge but for other reasons. She has just the opposite problem as she needs to gain a few pounds while getting more physically active. We decided that the first thing we would do is focus on the physical fitness aspect of a weight management program. The problem was that our schedules are somewhat inflexible. There are 81 days from April through September where I am kind of busy and unable to go to the gym. There are another 81 days that I might be able to go to the gym if there is some sort of sports programming available during my workout. The month of March is also difficult for me to get to the gym at least during the afternoons and I am hopefully going to be busy in October between 4 and 7 nights depending on circumstances. (Try explaining this to a personal trainer and see how it goes. In my case it didn’t go too well).

Given our schedules, Trina and I decided that we would try a regime of aerobic walking to begin getting back in shape. I’ve been walking all of my life (except for the first 9 months where I just kind of laid around and cried a lot) so I figured how hard could this walking thing be? After a lot of research online I determined that to meet my planned goals I needed to walk somewhere around 10,000 steps per day. I had no idea how many steps I currently took but I figured it was probably close to that level so again, how hard could this be?

To get a baseline of how many steps I was walking I bought a pedometer. Not just any pedometer but the geekiest pedometer that I could find. I bought a Omron HJ-720ITC pedometer with a USB port and software that would track my steps, calories burned, fat grams burned, distance, and other trivial data. The pedometer became my constant companion and I quickly learned that my lethargic lifestyle had me walking far less than my 10,000 step goal. This was going to be a lot harder than I thought especially when I began factoring in ball games. I would get a few steps from the parking garage to my seats at Chase Field and the same number of steps after the game to get to my car but that would not be near enough. I needed a plan.

During the home stand I decided that I had the perfect solution for my dilemma and the perfect gym to conduct my workout. I am at Chase Field for 81 games and I always try to arrive to watch at least some of batting practice. If I could somehow find a way to increase my steps while at the ballpark I could make this work. With my pedometer in hand I began exploring the ballpark all the while calculating my steps.

Starting from the main team shop on the lower level concourse I began to make my way to the left field corner and around the outfield towards the pool. I then turned left and made my way up the ramp to the upper deck. From there I went around the upper deck concourse from end to end and checked my steps. I made another loop in the upper deck and then went down the ramp returning to the lower level. I finished the loop by ending at the team shop entrance. For me that equated to roughly 3,600 steps or approximately 1/3 of my goal. If I could complete 3 laps I would be able to meet my daily goal of 10,000 steps with a few to spare. Taking my scorebook with me allowed me to enter the line-ups while I walked. Walking the concourse I was still able to see the field and enjoy the pre-game festivities. When I finished my three laps I returned to my seats and I was ready for the game to begin.

I felt more energized and excited for the game. I went home and told Trina what I had found. The next night she joined me and we were able to complete our aerobic exercise in the comfort of the air conditioning at Chase Field. During our journey I had to stop and remember exactly what the path was that I followed to get an adequate number of steps. I commented to Trina that it would be a lot easier if there were some sort of markings along the concourse. This led to another one of my bizarre ideas.

This would be a great promotion for the Diamondbacks. They could offer a “Step Up to the Plate” promotion sponsored by one of the local hospitals. They could hand out pedometers to the first few thousand people through the gates. There could be a health fair in the upper deck where people could be taught how to set-up their pedometers and be shown the various paths around the stadium to begin their walking routine. They could also offer booths for checking blood pressure and nutritional information of how to eat healthier foods. They could offer contests where fans could earn prizes when they have walked a certain number of steps at the ballpark. They could tout that the Diamondbacks are a team with a heart by helping fans reduce the likelihood of heart disease. It would also bring more fans to the game since the steps for the contest would only be counted while at the ballpark. Personally I think this would go over very well and it would be nice to walk with others who share your passion for baseball and the Diamondbacks.

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