Monthly Archives: January 2015

pedometer

Pedometer Blues: Am I Sedentary?

pedometer

We’re doing a pedometer challenge at work and I’m losing.

One of the greatest things about my new position at work is that I get to be in a sunny office with a window. This office job is slower paced and less stressful than when I was working in the after-school program setting. I’m also lucky to have a boss that supports and exemplifies work-life balance.

Last week, my co-workers were all discussing how many steps they take a day. They have all used different tracking apps on their phones and accessories like FitBit or whatever thing Nike created. I have never tracked my steps. Ever. So when my colleague launched a pedometer challenge for the office, it sounded like fun. I would get to see how many steps I take every day for the first time.

Fast forward to the first day of the challenge. Some of my colleagues had like 3,000 steps by lunchtime while I had a paltry 600ish. This led to me power-walking to graduate school and doing household chores in the evening to try to make up some steps. I had a 3 hour class, okay people? I tried. The first day I only made around 5,200 steps while one of my colleagues who exercised in the evening and the morning made more than 16,000 steps! So I am definitely losing.

Now we’ve all heard of the golden rule of 10,000 steps. While there is some debate about whether you can apply the same goal to every single person (you can’t), I think it’s a good rule of thumb for me as a young, fairly active person.

Here’s a nice explanation from walking.about.com:

Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a “sedentary lifestyle index”
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered “low active.” The average American walks 5900 to 6900 steps per day, so the majority are “low active.”
3) 7,500-9,999 steps/day likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered “somewhat active.”
4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as “active”.
5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as “highly active”.

The second day of the challenge I expected to log more steps than the first day. I increased slightly my steps but I’m still dead last in the challenge. I only took 5,500 steps yesterday. According to the scale that’s “low active” and even less than the number of steps the average American walks per day. And my number from the first day (5,200 steps) is dangerously close to 5,000 steps, the “sedentary lifestyle index.”

OH GEEZ. AM I SEDENTARY? In the health world, sedentary is like an evil word. A sedentary lifestyle?! We all know where that leads. I’m a little freaked out by these results, to be honest.

I wonder how many steps I was taking when I was a teacher or working in the after-school environment. I bet I made 10,000 steps or more back then. All I can do now is try to incorporate more activity into my day and find opportunities to walk or exercise. Because I definitely don’t want to be sedentary or die of sitting. So if you see me going up and down the stairs repeatedly, pacing back and forth, shuffling in place, or walking in circles, don’t worry- I’m not crazy. I’m just working on my steps 😉

For some interesting reading on where we stack up internationally, check out this NY Times article “The Pedometer Test: Americans Take Fewer Steps”

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