So, I’ve finally jumped on the steps bandwagon. I’ve had a fitbit for a several years — but barely used it because with Ironman and marathon training — it seemed silly. Some days would have thousands upon thousands of steps — others, I’d barely make 10,000 and I was quite happy with that as I was too tired to move.
I started out of the hospital with a 12,000 steps-per-day goal. After about a week, that seemed too doable of a challenge, so I moved it up to 15,000. That too because doable and was pretty easily hit. Now, I’ve moved it up to 20,ooo minimum per day…and I find that a push. Even yesterday, I ran my first 10K since my accident and found that it required focused steps in the evening and a walk to get in 20,000 total. I have myself pacing the halls in the evening, bringing the kids for extra walk and parking in the last parking spots to make it a 20,000 step day.
Those “little” movements that I used to avoid because I was too tired — I’m bringing them in. Moving laundry upstairs in batches, pacing while I wait for an appointment and not asking my kids to do me “favors” and get something out of the car for me. Here are some tips for stepping more:
1) Include a morning and evening walk — no matter how short and even if it has to be on the treadmill — it happens
2) Park at the farthest spot you can. Close spots aren’t lucky, they’re step killers
3) Think of errands that can involve walking — I walked to get blood drawn one day and to meet a friend at Starbucks another and to the grocery store (for a small load) yet another
4) Do more chores. vacuum, sweep, polish — any floor cleaning makes steps add up
5) hike and run — sadly, biking and swimming and even group fitness classes don’t make steps add up as quickly. Don’t give up on those cross training activities, but embrace the walking, running and hiking in your life
6) walk the dog — he won’t mind an extra jaunt
7) walk with your kids — gets them away from electronics and you’ll find they actually communicate with you
8) meet a friend for a walk meeting or catch-up instead of coffee, drinks or lunch
9) walk up and down the halls at work (look like you’re heading for the copy machine)
10) pace while you’re on the phone
Some of these recommendations are NEAT — non-exercise activity thermogenesis — and can help you burn up to 1,000 extra calories per day. They don’t replace your daily workout session, they enhance it. While you don’t need a fitness tracker to walk more — it sure keeps you honest. There’s been days when I’m sure I’ve covered the distance, only to be set straight by my little device.
I’m not so sure I trust the calorie counter on the fitbit, nor am I sure I’m ready to accept the wrist heart-rate technology…I’ll wait a few generations to invest in that model. I also find the sleep tracker woefully sensitive and don’t feel like I sleep as little or poorly as it tells me I do. I do love the step/miles covered features and that’s what I’m tracking for now. I’ve abandoned my garmin and other “devices” to simply focus on steps. It’s my current obsession — and judging from sales of $2.16 billion projected in 2015 — I’m not alone.