In January I told you that one of my “missions” for the year was to move more and sit less. To help me stay motivated with that mission, I signed up for three virtual challenges on a whim. Today, I’m going to tell you all about the Conqueror Virtual Challenges.
((Disclosure: All of the links to Conqueror Virtual Challenges are referral links. If you click through and finalize a purchase you get 10% off your first purchase. For every two people who finalize a purchase, I earn one free standard priced challenge.)
No Exercise For Me
Let’s start with the fact that I hate the word exercise. It sounds like a slog through a bog during a thunderstorm: not something I ever want to experience.
Exercise reminds me of gym class, and gym class reminds me of being a teenager and being embarrassed and extremely self conscious and thinking that everybody was watching every move I made. Exercise reminds me of gyms and muscular guys lifting weights to get big muscles and that’s no place for a young lady.
Exercise reminds me of Aerobics and not being able to keep up with whatever the hell the leader in the front of the room was doing; plus that leader shouted the whole time and the music was loud and it was crowded.
Exercise reminds me of modern gyms like the one next to the thrift store. The music’s so loud I can feel the thumping bass while browsing old cookbooks and bric-a-brac. I just can’t, and absolutely will not make myself either. Just imagining the smell of the locker rooms makes me nervous.
I’ve been in enough yoga classes to know that not all exercise is like that. But I’ve learned that for me, it’s important that I have FUN and enjoy myself while moving more and sitting less. That’s why I like walking: it’s a gentle way of moving that works for me.
Here’s the thing…
I also was young in the 70s when not everybody thought that exercise had to be a part of everyday life. People did not go to the gym or have a gym membership.
There were some people who ran, but they were weirdos. There were athletes; those were people who played sports.
Sports had only just started to include women. I remember classmates wanting to try out for the boy’s basketball team in junior high because there was no girls basketball team. I tried basketball for a little while; I quit because I couldn’t see the point in running up and down a basketball court.
(That’s not a criticism of those women who did and do play sports. They’re just not for me.)
So nope, exercise is not for me. Moving more and sitting less works really, really well.
That’s the very long way around to say that it’s pretty amazing that I’m writing a blog post all about the Conqueror Virtual Challenges.
Thinking about my 2023 “missions,” I decided that one of the most important things for my long term health was to simply move more and sit less.
It’s simple, really: the older I get the more clearly I understand that old phrase “use it or lose it.” It’s incredibly easy to sit for work then sit and cruise the interwebs and sit and read a book and then go to bed.
At age sixty, I’ve started to notice subtle changes that suggest larger issues if I don’t start addressing things right now. For example, I’m more stiff in the morning and it takes a little longer to get up to “full power.”
I don’t bounce back immediately after an injury. And while my balance is good now, I can see how quickly it could go downhill.
Then there’s the fact that my doctor wants me to on lowering my cholesterol levels. Through eating oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast, minding my caffeine and sugar intake, switching to whole grain breads, using Hello Fresh, and generally eating less, I’ve done well over the last year. But I hadn’t added movement in – and this is what really solidified the “move more sit less” mission for 2023.
Also, move more and sit less is incredibly easy to do. Anything that helps me move more and sit less helps me smash my
Conqueror Virtual Challenges
I went googling and found the Conqueror Virtual Challenges. It seemed silly at first: I don’t need a medal to congratulate myself for virtually walking somewhere. But it also intrigued me so I took advantage of the year-end sale and signed up for four challenges:
Angkor Wat at 20 miles.
Mount Fuji at 46 miles.
Cotswold Way at 97 miles.
Plus the year-long “Conquer 2023” challenge where you set your own goal; that’s where the 175 miles comes from in my Mission 2023 of move more sit less. (I didn’t keep a picture of the annual challenge number.)
Conqueror Virtual Challenges
Here’s the basic idea: you do your routine. And it can be any exercise, not just walking; there’s even an activity conversion chart that converts time spent exercising into miles and km. The conversion chart includes movement like dancing, gardening, grocery shopping, housework, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and washing a car.
You log your movement miles in the Conqueror Virtual Challenge app. As the miles increase, you virtually “travel” the distance of the map.
For example, my first challenge was the Cambodian temple complex of Angkor Wat. This is a 20 mile (32km) meander through the historic site. You see a map of where you are in that complex. You can also see the location of other people who are also participating in the challenge.
Find the JW in the image below. That’s me!
At the bottom of the screenshot, you can see that my walk around Angkor Wat was 4% completed at 0.85 miles (with 19.15 miles to go.) I thought I needed 56 days to complete the 20 mile challenge.
If you tap the little grey person icon just above the brown box that shows 4% distance, you see your literal location – like this:
You quite literally have a 360 degree view of where you’re standing (virtually, to admire the view and catch your virtual breathe.)
I also synched my Fit Bit to the Conqueror Virtual Challenge app so at around 12:30am every morning the previous days steps magically are entered into that app and I move a little further along the course route. You can also manually enter your miles right in the app.
Do Good Things
Not only are you doing good things for your body by moving more and sitting less (see how I left out that ugly exercise word there?) — you’re also helping the planet while being a virtual tourist.
At specific spots along the way you can hit the explore button and see a gallery of images. You also receive four “postcards” in your email (and on the app) to encourage you and to tell you more about the location in which you are walking.
For every 20% of the route you walk, Conqueror Virtual Challenges donates money towards planting a tree or stopping bottles from entering the ocean. By the end of the route you’ve planted five trees or stopped 50 bottles from entering the ocean.
You really are the winner with Conqueror Virtual Challenges. Each of the routes can be done solo (like me) or on a team. There’s an uplifting private Facebook group, too.
And when you finish the route? You win!
I thought it would take me 56 days to walk the 20 miles but nope, I knocked it out in 14 days during January in Michigan!
- The weather was decent so I walked outside a bit.
- I did a couple Walk Away The Pounds 1-mile walks from YouTube
- I danced in my house to DJ Jake Rudh’s Transmission on Twitch at 8pm on Saturday nights.
- I danced some more while listening to the Bay City Rollers Fan Events newly launched Dedication: Fans Remember the Bay City Rollers on TD1Radio out of Scotland.)
- I generally made an effort to move more sit less.
When you finish the route, you have an option to receive a medal and a t-shirt. I opted for the medal and it arrived a few days after I finished the route.
The medal is substantial. It’s 4″ x 3″ and held on a beautiful strand of fabric that reflects the colors associated with the route around Angkor Wat.
There are also two sides to the medal; here’s the back.
I’ll Keep Walking
Now that I know all about the Conqueror Virtual Challenges, I’m going to keep walking. I’m almost done with my second challenge.
Bonus – as I walk each route, the miles also total into the year-long Conquer Challenge. So all of those steps I’m walking along the three routes contribute to my goal of 175 miles.
(PSST: I have a top secret mission that’s going to push me a *very* long way towards that goal, but you didn’t hear it from me.)
I happened to find Conqueror Virtual Challenges during a year-end sale and there was a darned good deal for purchasing three of the challenges. I believe it was a bundle of get 3 challenges at 20% off plus get the Conqueror 2023 for free.
I’m excited to try other challenges…eventually. I’ve got my eye on the 26-mile Inca Trail in Peru (I’ve been to Peru,) the 124-mile Ring of Kerry in Ireland, or the 500-mile North Coast through the Scottish Highlands.
Then there’s the amazing 145-mile Shire route based on the Lord of The Rings; you virtually travel from The Shire to Mordor. There are even longer routes, too, like the 1968-mile Appalachian Trail or the 2,280-mile Route 66.
What are your favorite ways to move more and sit less?