For my birthday I bought myself a pedometer. I would have preferred cake but I’m trying to be sensible.
My sedentary lifestyle has me worried, especially when I stay with Jim in his Manhattan apartment. It’s 10 flights up by elevator, takes only a couple of hours to clean thoroughly and includes an efficient office space where I have been known to eat all three of my daily meals more often than I care to admit here. And with my long arms, I can reach just about anything I need from scratch pads to files to reference books. I do get up to pee. That’s a whooping 14 steps one way.
Another admission: The bed is only one step from my office chair. If there’s an intense deadline at hand, all I have to do is sit up and sidle on over to work. One step. What saves me from utter disgrace is that I like to make the bed. 100 steps.
Another reason I leave my desk is to run an errand. I detest doing errands and avoid them at all costs. Yesterday my trek downstairs to the post office in this building was my big adventure for the day. 632 steps. And since most errands entail the expenditure of money, I’m not likely to run too many errands. All of these variables, when followed by an equal sign, add up to: slug.
I do make lunches for Jim and I, usually big vegetable-y salads, and about half the time I make dinner. There’s a lot of chewing involved with these vegetable-based eating sessions, which one could count as exercise if one were desperate. But chewing isn’t something the pedometer recognizes, which is what I’m getting to eventually.
Around 8 in the morning I head out to run but, as I have learned, that’s only about half of the exercise I need in a day. And half an hour to an hour of breaking a sweat still can’t compensate for a sedentary lifestyle. These are medical findings I’ve read in various publications. Because I’msocked in here, inert in this lap of luxury, I wonder: How much do I move? When they say move it or lose it, they are not just talking muscle tone here. The word “mortality” emerges for our consideration.
Thus, the pedometer. How much does a writer/consultant move in a day?
Even with running, not 10,000 steps.
The pedometer has an association with a walking program called 10,000 steps. Once you clip it onto your waistband you automatically want to take 10,000 steps by bedtime. I’ve only used my pedometer for a few days but my worst fears are confirmed, at least in NYC: sluggish with moments of peak activity. Put another way, a slug that occasionally wiggles.
I like the pedometer because it quantifies things. A breakfast I made for 7 on Sunday morning at home in Rockport took 5768 steps. That includes cleanup. Amazing. Running for 37 minutes yesterday scored me 5,188 steps. I spent another 700 steps warming up and cooling down. I only walked 2,048 more steps the rest of the day. On a deadline day earlier in the week I walked a mere 3,822 steps. That’s sedentary. One step closer to the grave, if we’re counting.
From what I see online, the average person walks 1 mile in 2,000 steps. Thus, if you have an average stride, you need to walk 5 miles to reach that magic number of 10,000 steps.
And why 10,000 steps? Well, it’s a lot of steps, that’s for sure. And it minimally meets your daily need for movement. Here is a great blog entry and lots of references at the end of the piece, if you’re interested: http://walking.about.com/od/measure/f/10000steps.htm.
Awareness is also part of that exercise equation I mentioned earlier. If you know that your average day marks you as sedentary, you may very well alter your ways…thereby providing ample justification for cake.