Did that title strike terror into your heart as you suddenly realized that my blogging life from now on will be nothing but step counts and reflections on step counts? Sorry for the alarm; this will likely be a one-time reflection unless I find some interesting research to validate it, in which case it’ll probably just be a two-time reflection.
In our neverending attempt to trick ourselves to exercise, we bought pedometers yesterday! I’ve read several times that you should try to take at least 10,000 steps every day, and since steps are probably the least intimidating form of exercise, we finally decided that this was a reasonable goal, AND it feels like you’re playing a video game. A very boring video game. Where you get points for not sitting down.
Final score: 11735
Time: 15 hours
— 30 minute morning walk
— regular work comings and goings
— extra trip to the parking garage for lunch
— trip to grocery store
— two.5 hours of cooking dinner and other food items
So, now I’ve answered some questions that I forgot to ask myself before the day started.
Question: Is your normal life active enough to automatically yield 10,000 steps a day?
Answer: No. That 30 minute morning walk earned 4,000 steps, and I haven’t spent more than 5 minutes cooking within the past month. Without those two uncharacteristic activities, I would only have made 4,000 steps. As further proof, my legs really hurt right now, so I’m clearly not used to 11,000 step days.
Question: Do you think you will walk more with a pedometer?
Answer: Yes. I bet I will walk 8,000 steps more. After all, I can’t win the game without walking.
Question: How do you win the game?
Answer: Like all real-life games, this one is most akin to Tetris or Donkey Kong. You never really win; you just get the current high score. 11735 is the current high score. Now I just need to make a high score board, perhaps like the following:
In conclusion, counting steps is fun because it gives you a quantifiable score that, like stickers, motivates some people. Unfortunately, like eating vegetables, it turns out that you have to be kind of intentional about moving so much; it doesn’t happen automatically. That being said, unless you would rather take a 2.5 hour walk around the neighborhood every day, you most likely can use your steps to do something, which improves productivity. Which will make you happy…after you take some Tylenol for your legs.