Friday, September 18, 2009

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

U2--"Walk On (live)" (mp3)
Dire Straits--"Walk Of Life" (mp3)

The epiphany came during the dog days of summer, those miserable days here at the office when life seemed to consist of getting up, throwing on whatever seemed clean and pressed enough, dragging out to the car, driving to my parking spot, stumbling down the stairs to my office, sitting here until lunch, driving home or somewhere to eat while sitting and reading the paper, then back to the parking space and back down the stairs to this office, sitting here until 4 PM and then heading home to take a nap until I felt like throwing together some supper, then maybe (only maybe) walking out to water the garden, before returning to watch a movie or read a book or sit and drink beer.

Wait a second, I thought, is this what a sedentary lifestyle is? Have I really reached that point?

And then I was reading somewhere that an average person takes about 5000 steps a day. The article suggested trying to raise that to 7000 steps a day. Which, of course, had me wondering, how many steps was I taking in a day?

So I went to Target and bought a pedometer.

Life changer, that was. Not a huge, earth-shattering life change, but one that was significant enough to alter my thinking, because now I am thinking about how many steps I take in a day and I have a way to measure that.

Each morning, before I take the dog out for a walk, I reach into my pocket, take stock of the previous day’s step count, and reset it to begin anew. From time to time, during the day, I’ll take it out, just to see where I am on my extended daily path versus where I think I should be. Sometimes, like after cutting the front lawn, I will take a moment and celebrate the incredible number of steps I have just racked up.

With my trusty pedometer, which is the pocket kind, I can input the length of my stride, which will let me keep track of how many miles I’m walking each day, as well as how many steps. It will then also tell me how many calories I’m burning, though I don’t really trust that figure, but I assume it’s a conservative number, since it doesn’t take into account the steps and hilly terrain of this campus.

Like I said, it has changed me. For example, when I used to take the dog out first thing, I’d shuffle half-awake up about two houses and then cut back on the other side of the street and wander through my yard back to the front door. Now I go all the way around the block. Anytime I think about sitting down while teaching class, I think twice. As much of a pain as it is, I still walk down to the bookstore to get my mail.

There is a program out there called 10,000 Steps, which suggests that figure as the new benchmark for people to make sure that they are getting enough physical activity each day. Of course, the hope is that they, that I, would get more, would incorporate several sessions of sustained physical activity during a week as well. But it's a start.

What I like about taking and counting steps is that it gives me a goal, a reasonable, daily goal. Okay, so maybe I didn't run today, maybe I didn't lift, maybe I didn't dominate in Wii Sports Resort 3-on-3 Pickup Basketball, but I can make sure that I get my steps in, even if it means carrying the laundry up and down the steps 17 times.

Dire Straits and U2 are available at Itunes.


troutking said...

Good advice. You could also start walking to work like Senor Bong.

Bob said...

I know you're kidding ,but I thought about that. It requires a bit more organization than I currently possess and a little less freedom to leave than I'm currently willing to give up.

Billy said...

Ohhhh I thought you meant walking in the manner of Senor Bong... which made it kind of more cruel, but also therefore funnier. To be fair, the way Senor Bong walked HAD to burn more calories...

Bob said...

In my mind's eye, I see Senor Bong floating just above any earthly worries or physical restraints.

Tockstar said...

How many steps is it from the academic building to the dining hall?

troutking said...

Billy, you are a bastard.

Bob, then you might just consider some campus perambulations with the additional exercise of picking of miniscule pieces of trash.

Goofytakemyhand said...

Senor Bong walked to work so he wouldn't get a pot belly.

troutking said...

Now that's funny!

Tockstar said...

Btw, Walk of Life was probably my favorite music video when I was a young'un. Thanks for the memories.