Walkadoo is Trying to Kill Me

Walkadoo is this online service which tracks your steps and gives you daily goals.  It has some social aspects to it, where you can follow people on the website, see how they’re doing, “smile” at the things they post, and enter into “derbies” with them.  It’s all centered around trying to get people to walk more.

This started through Blue Shield of California health insurance, which I get through my wife.  There is a wellness program that allows a person to get a discount on their insurance if they gain some number of points through various programs.  Walkadoo is one of the programs that qualifies.

The first thing you do once you sign up is order a Pebble.  The Pebblie is a little black device that acts as a pedometer.  It counts your steps, and when you’re near a sync station, transmits your step count to Walkadoo.  Walkadoo tallies up the total count, and eventually, if you meet your daily goal, sends you an email or text congratulating you on your good deeds.

This is all well and good, except that I spent a large portion of my 3rd day with the Pebble walking.  I went on a really long walk, and Walkadoo raised their level of expectation of me accordingly.  I went from needing to walk 2000 steps a day to 4000 steps a day.

The next weekend, I did the same walk, and Walkadoo rewarded me with steeper goals.  All this week, I’ve needed to walk at least 7000 steps a day to meet the goal.  Today’s goal was 8383.

To put that into perspective, I walk a mile in about 2100 steps.  Today, I’ve walked over 15,000 steps.

If you recall my previous post, this is the sort of external pressure that I respond to.  Every day, I’m getting increasingly difficult goals to achieve, and each day, I’m rising to the challenge and meeting them.  Eventually, the target will be beyond what I can do, and then I’ll feel as though Walkadoo has beaten me.  After that, I might stop all of this crazy walking.

In the mean time, the walking has been pretty amazing for me.  I’ve been thinking while letting my feet carry me through my neighborhood.  Much of the time, I’ve been thinking about a work project which I’m trying to finish before Monday.  I’ve also been thinking about my stories.  Today, I came up with some plot points and characters for the second Mel Walker story.  I also thought about the book I’ll be starting in November with NaNoWriMo.  And I thought about a short story which I might submit to Writers of the Future before the end of the month.  I don’t think the story is very good, but maybe I’ll put it out there anyway.  It’s not like it will hurt anything.

Walking is good exercise.  It isn’t as stressful on the ankles and knees as jogging or running.  It’s easy and pleasant, and it allows me a lot of time to think.  Sometimes, that’s all a person needs in order to get past some creative hurdles: time to think.

Whether you have some faceless online organism trying to wear you out as I do, I encourage anyone to go out and walk whenever they have the chance.  It’s amazing what a sunny stroll can jog loose from one’s mind.