Quantifying Urban Ranger for HabitCal

Urban ranger is an inspirational metaphor to get you walking. Warning: there is poetry involved. Discuss it here.
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reinhard
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Quantifying Urban Ranger for HabitCal

Post by reinhard » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:54 pm

Urban Ranger is the one everyday systems that currently doesn't have clear criteria for success and failure. While I personally find it useful even without such criteria, I think it could be helpful for many others. That way they could use the HabitCal (or at least the thinking behind it) to build a solid, regular habit.

So the question is, what should the criteria be? I'm inclined to make it temporal rather than distance. Maybe "at least 14 minutes a day," to stick with my favorite arbitrary number. 14 minutes isn't much, especially for something as moderate as walking, but it is something, particularly for the very out of shape, and I think it's important to keep the bar very, very low. Most people's problem is not that they don't do enough, it's that they don't do anything. And if you can go 14 minutes, it's very easy to go more. By keeping the "sustainable minimum of compliance" very low, you're more likely to do *something,* and that's the real barrier.

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Post by Atom » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:49 pm

I personally keep track of if I dodged an opportunity to take a lift or public transport for walkable destinations (not too far, doesn't involve playing frogger on a 5 lanes highway, ...). If I took all available walking opportunities it's a success, otherwise a failure.

It's not so much a distance/time thing for me, I just want to redevelop the habit of walking everywhere I go, I used to walk EVERYWHERE if I had enough time, and I stopped for some reason I don't even remember.

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Post by reinhard » Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:38 pm

That's not a bad idea. That's the mindset and habit you want to develop. You're tracking what's actually important.

I think the problem is a lot of people are just going to say "there were no opportunities to walk today" pretty much every day. A 14 minute daily minimum would encourage them to look a bit harder.

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Post by Atom » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:52 am

You're right about that, it should include a "walked at least n minutes" clause.

Although I was considering the "didn't walked because their were no opportunities" a did not apply day, you didn't fail, but you didn't succeed either. I actually had one of those sunday because I stayed at home all day.

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Post by reinhard » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:55 pm

I'm going back and forth on this... "Walk 14 minutes" is specific and useful, but I don't know if it's sufficiently inspiring. It doesn't tap into the urban ranger metaphor enough. And I think walking, because it's so humble and unimpressive, needs to be made inspiring.

Haven't got any better ideas yet, tough...

Reinhard

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Post by stevecooper » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:10 pm

Some ideas;

Utility;

"I walked somewhere, and it wasn't to or from my car"
"I walked to one place outside my street" (a shop, work, a friend's house)

Time;

"I was on my feet for 14 minutes"

Distance;

"I walked 14 stadia" (1.6 miles)
"I walked 14,000 cubits" (3.9 miles)
"I walked 14,000 paces"

Energy;

"I walked somewhere I didn't have to"
"I had a walking lunch"
"I walked off 140 calories" (1.4 miles!)

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Post by reinhard » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:52 pm

"Stadia," wow, the only other place I've seen that word is in Xenophon's March of the 10,000 (very urban ranger -- they walked from Greece to Persia and back, kicking serious ass along the way).

Archaic units of measurement could be just the inspiration we need...

I like your categories, too. Now just how to turn these into something one can simply and clearly resolve to success/failure/exempt... We're getting there.

Thanks again, Steve!

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Explorator urbium sum

Post by stevecooper » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:12 pm

I've been watching the new series of Rome recently. That must be what put it into my head. ;)

Explorator urbium sum
Ambulato; ista res ago.
Urbs locam incultus meum est.


Ovid must be spinning in his grave ;)

Actually, as a play on In vino, veritas -- I like In vias, feritas -- In the streets, wildness.

[edit]; changed locam deserta, which was listed in my dictionary as 'wilderness' but means 'empty place' to 'locam incultus', which means 'wild place', which I reckon is a better translation of 'wilderness' for the poem.

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Post by reinhard » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:07 pm

Sweet! I wish I remembered enough high school Latin to make some smart ass comment (I'm determined to come back to Latin some day, still bogged down in Hebrew at the moment, might take a few more years before I can move on). So is "Rome" worth netflixing?

Now if only we could translate the song into Elvish...

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Post by stevecooper » Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:31 am

If you enjoy reading Xenophon, I suspect you'll enjoy Rome. Nice and dramatic, and fairly historical, I think. Season 1 covers Caesar crossing the Rubicon and becoming dictator; Season 2 covers the conflict between Caesar's killers, Octavian, and Mark Anthony.

Elvish I can't do. And I'm relatively proud of that ;)

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Post by larisa0001 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:16 am

I used to keep track of my walking by figuring out how much money I was saving on cab fare or bus fare, and adding that to my "temptation account" - to be spent in a totally frivolous manner. I should really resume doing that; it was great at getting me to walk instead of being lazy and taking the bus or cab.

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Post by urbansix » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:34 am

stevecooper wrote: "I walked 14 stadia" (1.6 miles)
"I walked 14,000 cubits" (3.9 miles)
"I walked 14,000 paces"
Appropos urban ranger, a league is defined as the distance a person (or horse) can walk in one hour, usually considered 3 - 3.5 miles.

I recently started audiobooking some of the "literary classics" (read "public domain" available free at www.gutenberg.org) on my commute. I am currently on 20,000 Leagues under the Seas, and finally got around to looking up what a "league" is. Inspired by the Audiodidact portion of the E.S. podcasts, but not much talked about on here.

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Post by reinhard » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:28 pm

Thank you! "Leagues" is good (so is the book, as I remember).

The inspirational value of antiquated units of measurement... how nice that these old workhorses can be put to good use again.

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Post by Spook » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:55 pm

Larisa, I like your idea - I might just start doing that!

As for the original question, I say keep it simple - walking for 14 minutes per day is all that's needed.

Generally if you set out to walk for 14 minutes you probably will end up walking for quite a bit longer anyway. The only chance I get most days to do my 14 minutes is by walking to or from work, but that's about a league away :) so I end up walking for an hour instead.

(Also I live somewhere VERY hilly so even 14 minutes can be pretty strenuous!)

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A different tactic

Post by zingano » Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:11 pm

I've been thinking about quantifying Urban Ranger for a while, and suddenly last weekend I had a brainwave. I think I've finally come up with something that works for me.

It has always seemed to me that the point of being an Urban Ranger is exploration - not just getting from A to B on foot, but wandering around looking, hunting and eventually (I hope) finding.

I took some index cards and wrote a word or three on each - examples are "decay", "change", "just blue and white" and "at work".

Each morning I choose a card at random, and then I set off for my walk with my little digital camera (and my two dogs). I don't come home until I've taken a picture fulfilling the brief on the card. Oh, and I'm not allowed to photograph the same object twice - the idea here is that as the habit becomes more engrained and easier, taking the photo becomes harder and the walk becomes longer.

I've only done this twice, so I haven't waited as long as I should have before sharing it with you. But I wanted feedback and your ideas!

Here are my flickr photos so far: http://www.flickr.com/photos/5103570691 ... 435080359/

I thought about setting up a flickr group for Urban Ranger so we could all share our daily photos, but on consideration it would be a bit cheeky, because Reinhard might want to do that, if he likes the idea.

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Post by ou812 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:37 am

What a great idea! This seems to capture the spirit of adventure and fun. Usually I am all about practicality getting to point B as quickly as possible. For me it means walking to and from work and walking to the library on my lunch break. I hope that this inspires others to pick up walking. :)

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Re: A different tactic

Post by urbansix » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:08 pm

zingano wrote:Here are my flickr photos so far: http://www.flickr.com/photos/5103570691 ... 435080359/

I thought about setting up a flickr group for Urban Ranger so we could all share our daily photos, but on consideration it would be a bit cheeky, because Reinhard might want to do that, if he likes the idea.

You know, I had totally forgotten how much I used to do this, and never thought of it in context of Urban Ranger until now. From college till kids came along (i.e. most of the 90's) I attempted my hand (eye?) at street photography. It involved hours of self absorbed walking thru the world with a camera trying to "see" things. (Now I just shoot cameraphone from my car window, lol) Some sort of photo diary or scavenger hunt certainly does give purpose to the walking and "purposeful" was one of the Urban Ranger definitions.
Last edited by urbansix on Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by reinhard » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:48 pm

zingano,

Great idea. Shovelglove scenarios -- urban ranger missions.

I personally am not much of a photographer (yet?) but I'd be very interested in seeing what other people are doing (and maybe this would be the spur I need). The picture with the cards is helpful, too. Good use of spare "personal punch cards." :-)

I'll think about the flickr group.... I'm not quite flickr savvy enough yet to assess the utility/difficulty, but I'll spend some quality time with it next week. If it's not something I'm likely to find the mental bandwidth for, I'll let you know, and then by all means feel free (and encouraged!) to set it up yourself.

Reinhard

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Post by Alex C. » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:43 am

Just wanted to add my two pence :)

Have started following the No S Diet and the Urban Ranger excercises for the new year and the way I'm 'targeting' a fail or pass is:

M-F: 30 minutes walking, anywhere outside. Can be a trip to the supermarket or a long walk by the sea, but a minimum of 30 minutes.

Saturday: minimum of 60 minutes walking, preferably somewhere I've not been before. Might ease the 'guilt' at eating snack foods as well :)

Sunday: day off unless I fancy a walk.

In reality I already walk about 20 minutes a day minimum (no car) so I'm hoping to get above these, but I feel they're realistic targets :)

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Post by reinhard » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:28 pm

Sounds good, Alex. Let us know how it goes.

As I mentioned before, I'm fortunate to live in such a walking friendly environment (I can walk to work) that I personally don't need quantification, but I'm sure I would otherwise, and I'm sure others reading this thread will benefit from these ideas.

Reinhard

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Post by Jaymiz » Tue May 06, 2008 5:25 pm

For myself, I have set myself a goal to get in some form of movement (preferrably walking, but it could also come in the form of stationary-biking, dancing, skipping, etc) every day for at least 15 minutes ((sorry, Reinhard, but I've still got FLYLady's thinking stuck in my head from the past several years... she says, "You can do ANYTHING for just 15 minutes")). http://flylady.net

Anyhoo... I also qualify that with the phrase "movement that's more than I'd do on any other given day".

So, as long as I'm moving an extra 15 minutes more than I'd normally do, in some form of "formal" exercise (walking counts), I get a Green square on my HabitCal. ;)
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Post by BrightAngel » Fri May 16, 2008 11:11 pm


I live in the suburbs of Central California,
where the days are painfully hot in summer, and drizzly foggy in winter.
The only real danger in walking in my neighborhood in the daytime probably comes from an occasional unleashed dog.
Night would probably be safe for me to walk outside alone,
but my husband is unhappy with that concept, and doesn't want to walk with me

My exercise is primarily indoors.
My cardio is low-impact walking,
usually on my Treadmill; on my free-style Gazelle,
or to Leslie Sansome's DVDs, Walk Slim.
I rotate those things daily, depending on my mood.

However, today I decided to "urban ranger" it to the Subway sandwich shop
that is located in a strip mall near the edge of my neighborhood
to get a 6" turkey sandwich w/o mayo, oil, or cheese.
I got it and brought it home to eat.
The walk took 50 minutes, 25 minutes each way.
Of course, I didn't count the time it took inside Subway.

This was between 10:30 and 11:30 am.
When I left home the weather was 82 degrees,
when I got back it was 92 degrees.
It only reached 101 today.
A warm day, but not really hot yet.
During Summer afternoons 107+ degrees is common.
People who want to walk outside the house in the middle of the day
usually drive to the mall and walk inside it.
I had forgotten how welcome shade is, and
was grateful for every neighborhood tree.

On my way back, I realized what it was I liked best about exercising at home.
Then, I'm already home.
I'm grateful for my car.
BrightAngel - (Dr. Collins)
See: DietHobby. com

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Post by JillyBean » Fri May 30, 2008 2:13 pm

Well, I don't really qualify as an urban ranger or even a suburban ranger as I live in a town of under 2000, and the nearest "city," if you could call it that, is about 30 miles away. But I am walking!

I have wondered just how far or how long I need to walk to qualify for the successful day on my habitcal. I have been only counting the days that I walk with my friend and we go about 3 1/2 miles. But I can't always do that and I don't like to have failures. I like the idea of a 14 minute minimum. That would involve walking to the end of my road and back. I think I could do that no matter what the conditions (which currently are "buggy')! :roll:
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