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Keeping Track

I recently purchased a pedometer to keep track of distances on runs outside of the gym … once I get out of the gym, of course. Until then, I thought I’d see how many steps I take in a day, possibly approaching the 10,000-step recommendation popular nowadays. Well, it ain’t so easy, either because my normal day is rather slug-like, or 10,000 is a little high.

Monday was a normal day, where the walking about could be divided into six segments: 1) morning shower/breakfast stuff, 2) stopping off at bank, 3) walking about in office, 4) at the gym, ┬ábefore/during/after five games of squash with stretching, 5) zhan zhuang class, 6) evening wind-down at home.┬áBasically, I walked about 7900 steps that day, with about 5000 at the gym, 2900 outside the gym, give or take, and this happened over a combined span of an hour and 24 minutes. I don’t believe that data for its own sake isn’t very useful (wow! 7900 steps!), but it can give quantitative values where none had existed, and allow comparison to a perceived standard, in this case, 10,000 steps as an indication of appropriate physical activity. To make the comparison:

– Without going to the gym, an average day for me takes about 2900 steps … if I run an errand. I work at a computer.
– Squash and stretching yields only 5000 steps. However, it could be said that a squash step trumps a walking step, since I really sweated during those games. In fact, according to 10000steps.org.au , 25 minutes of squash equals 5000 steps of activity. So, adding whatever steps took place outside the game, maybe it’s more like 6,000. You can see where this kind of calculations would just get rather silly.
– It’s not a good idea to try to rack up steps during a Zhan Zhuang class where you stand for 45 minutes. I kind of expected that.
Apparently a sedentary person may only average 1000 to 3000 steps each day. Now I know what a “sedentary” day feels like.

There must be a lot of ways to improve and measure physical health — this is just one, and I’ve just gotten a taste of it. I don’t expect to monitor my steps with the same rigor as I’ve monitored my weight (more on that later), and it’s said that a weekly tally might be better than a daily one. However, I did get some value from this exercise, and it will encourage me to raise the level of activity on non-squash days by walking more, running more, or biking to work.

Update: I’ve had bad luck with pedometers, and this one’s no exception. It doesn’t take kindly to being dropped, and reacts by shutting down, then resetting everything to zero and erasing all user data. (sigh) But I’m not going to buy one of those $250 GPS things for runners any time soon — I’d just drop it.

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