Welcome to México!
By Victoria Schmidt
A health trend in the USA is to count how many steps you take a day in order to keep you moving, and help you track your fitness.
Some people have electronic equipment that sync to their cell phones, and counts every step of the day. Others use simple pedometers.
It is very important to our health to keep moving. Especially those of us with bad joints. We can set goals and try to increase our steps every single day.
A year ago after a lengthy illness that kept me in bed for four months, I used a simple pedometer, and was overjoyed when I was able to walk on my own from the kitchen and back. My steps grew each day and spurred me on to strengthening my legs.
Of course the ultimate target goal many speak about is 10,000 steps a day. You can imagine my excitement when I managed to crest 4,000 steps just going about my daily business. Imagine what I could do if I started setting goals for purposeful long walks?
Then I lost my pedometer. It fell off. My little inspiration device was down and out.
So, not to be deterred, I sent off to purchase a device that would fit on my arm where it would not fall off. They had a two for one sale, so I bought an extra one, just in case.
I waited weeks for the devices to arrive, and was thrilled when they made it here.
But, these devices had to be synced to a smart phone. Don’t ask me, I gave up my “techie” days long ago. And I own a dumb phone. It just dials. It doesn’t play games, or take pictures, or interface with What’s Ap.
So, I gave the device to the young Mexican woman, Ana, my husband and I put through college. We call her our “daughter.” She doesn’t drive, she walks or takes the bus wherever she goes. Young and intelligent, she had the arm band working within minutes, because she has a smart phone.
She wore the band for the first day, and at the end of the day one, she showed me how many steps she had walked that day…some of them running errands for me. She put on over 22,000 steps. The next day it was over 24,000 steps.
OK, so what does this tell me? In the United States, I would drive 10 blocks. Yup. Here, 10 blocks is a short walk. Ana has six siblings. They all walk all over Chapala, and they would all run up this amount of steps. Many walk to their work, are on their feet all day, walk to their homes, and walk to their entertainment.
The pedestrian life is the mainstay of the Mexican culture. It is not easy to earn enough to buy or maintain a car. To many it is a luxury.
Recently, a friend from the USA decided to make Chapala her permanent home. She does not include a car as a necessity. She walks, buses or cabs when necessary. Adopting the pedestrian way of life appeals to her.
Me? I have a car. One with many dents and quirks, and I will still drive 10 blocks right now. But I have a new pedometer coming, and I will still try to challenge myself. But my bum knee will never allow me to reach 10,000 steps in a day, let alone Ana’s first day of over 22,000. But it is a device that will allow me to feel a little better about the progress I do make.
Column: Editor’s Page
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.