At one point or another, practically all of us have seen a photograph of ourselves and blanched at our appearances. Maybe we cringed and simply looked away—or maybe we decided to do something about it. In the case of Lisa Erickson, an insurance subrogation specialist and work-at-home mother of three from Minnesota, she did something about it.
Last year, when Erickson saw a photograph of herself that she didn’t like from her 50th birthday party, she was determined to change her lifestyle. “That’s not what I want to look like,” she told KARE 11 News, an NBC affiliate in Minneapolis, MN.
At around the beginning of the pandemic, she bought a standing desk and a fold-up treadmill, and she started walking while working. She kept walking. Five pairs of running shoes, 13 million steps, and more than 6,500 miles later, the 51 year-old had lost 50 pounds. “It doesn’t feel hard when I’m doing it,” she told KARE 11. “It just feels like a day in the office. But then when I look at [the data], I’m like, that’s pretty cool. I walked almost a marathon while I worked.”
Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Walk More, Says Science
The key to Erickson’s success is that she practically never sits. Every day, she logs somewhere in the realm of 17 to 20 miles every day. At a pace of 3mph, that would be nearly 7 hours of continuous walking. For a 120 pound person, that would account for a daily burn of roughly 1,100 calories—or the equivalent of a Big Mac Meal, including fries and a soda.
Using a treadmill desk is a terrific way to up your step count, keep your blood flowing, and ensure that your brain is working optimally. “All of our body functions—including blood flow, blood pressure, heart and lung function, and blood sugar processing—improve when we expend energy with physical activity, but they decline with inactivity,” I-Min Lee, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, explained to Harvard Health, when asked about standing-and-walking workstations. (As it pertains to walking while at your computer, Lee does warn that it will take plenty of practice and coordination to get comfortable.)
For her part, Erickson is still walking, and has become something of a walking Forrest Gump on social media. On TikTok she’s known as “the walking worker,” and so far has nearly 4,000 followers. “It’s more followers than any of my kids have,” she jokes. And for some great ways to take your walking to a higher level, make sure you’re aware of the The Secret Trick for Walking for Exercise, According to Health Experts at Harvard University.