Saturday, September 09, 2017

27 staircases

I haven't done a five-hour megawalk in a while (I might do one today), but last night, I finally did a half-length walk in which I went up and down all staircases (well, almost all) twice: once while walking west, and once while walking back east to where I live. It proved not to be an impossible task, and since my earlier 14-staircase walk is no longer benefiting me that much, the doubling-up of staircases is a good thing.

Walking double the number of staircases provides you with a few interesting insights. First, it doesn't radically increase your step count or your time walked: last night's walk was about 19,500 steps, which was disappointing because I normally prefer to get in at least 20K steps when I'm walking the creek. Second, the increased number of staircases means that the walk goes from a cardio workout to a cardio-plus-strength workout: your legs definitely feel it by the time you're at Staircase #20. Third, you're reminded that, while the staircases shrink as you walk west (going from roughly 70 steps per staircase to about 55 steps by Staircase #14), they grow on your way back, which can be a bit demoralizing if you let defeatist thoughts creep into your head. Best thing to do, in that case, is the same thing you do when trudging in rain: just lower your head and push through it.

Even though I've been back on my creekside walk for the past few weeks, I've been gaining weight in recent days despite the exercise and the improved cardio. I think this means my body has acclimated itself to a certain level of activity, and the time has come to ratchet up the difficulty. So: from now on, we hit twenty-eight staircases, not fourteen. Not a huge change in terms of time, step count, and distance, but a significant change in terms of both cardio and strength. As the weather cools, I'll still be sweating.

Alas, I cheated last night and skipped the 28th staircase on my way back to my apartment, but I won't be skipping again in future.

ADDENDUM: oh, yeah—there's an ulterior motive for all this exercise: another of my Korean cousins is getting married this coming September 30, and I need to show up at the wedding looking as if I've just finished my cross-country walk. Heh.


  1. I've flatlined too. I'm curious though, even if your body acclimates to a certain level of exercise, isn't still burning calories at the same rate? Or is that what acclimation does, it takes fewer calories to perform the same task?

  2. I don't know the answer to that question. I suspect the latter: as your body processes energy more efficiently, it takes less effort to do the same work, thus necessitating a constant up-ratcheting of effort. (If so, there must be some upper limit that to process.)

    In my case, though, it could also simply be that my diet has been too calorie-heavy over the past week. I'm now trying to cut back in an effort to get back to a calorie deficit every day.



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