Tech Prof Walks 1 Million Steps In 74 Days

SOCORRO, N.M. June 17, 2009 – Dr. Dave Westpfahl, physics professor and department chairman at New Mexico Tech, is counting to a million.

Ten weeks ago, Westpfahl set a goal of walking one million steps within 80 days. On Wednesday, June 17 (that’s day 74), Westpfahl will hit the one million step mark at the New Heart center in Albuquerque.

Physics professor Dr. Dave Westpfahl on campus Wednesday after walking his one-millionth step within 74 days.

“I thought it’d be a cool goal,” he said. “Who has a million of anything?”

Westpfahl had heart valve replacement surgery in February 2007 and then completed his rehabilitation at New Heart Center for Wellness, Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation. In the fall of 2008, he joined the board of directors of the rehab center.

Westpfahl walks every day for exercise. A few months ago, he bought a new pedometer that measures his steps and distance. After having a bit of fun with his new gadget, Westpfahl set his goal.

He averages just about seven miles of walking each day. At home in Albuquerque, he walks near Simms Park Road, Elena Gallegos Recreation area and Albuquerque Academy.

When at work in Socorro, he follows a path around the campus of New Mexico Tech.

“I hate the treadmill,” he said. “I had to walk on the treadmill for 12 weeks for rehab at New Heart. I will get on the treadmill Wednesday just enough to hit my milestone.”

Ever the scientist, Westpfahl calculates that he has covered 500 miles in 72 days – roughly the distance from Albuquerque to Fort Collins, Colo.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich