Tag Archives: fitness

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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Kayaking & Hearing Aids: Si se puede!

It has been TOO long, guys! I’m sorry I haven’t posted but I promise you I will not let this blog fade away. I’m really excited about sharing with you over the long haul. I remember finding a blog written by a pregnant woman with Usher Syndrome and being so disappointed when she stopped posting before the baby was born. It’s like you missed the ending to a good story. So…long story short, that’s not happening here!

So let’s get to it. You may have noticed my title: kayaking & hearing aids! What’s going on here? I have been kayaking 3 times, once in Beacon, NY (my favorite town ever), once in Costa Rica, and once in Inwood. I really enjoy it every time as it’s both a physical challenge and a mental challenge. You really have to strategize your strokes and figure out how to maneuver where you want to go. It requires a lot of effort to go against the current and forge ahead. I’ve always had to kayak without my hearing aids, which presents a challenge. I feel very uneasy about leaving my hearing aids on shore and also about having them in a watertight container on the kayak itself. Neither is ideal for me. My hearing aids cannot get wet and I wouldn’t want to risk losing or destroying them. Something else to consider is that if you’re kayaking with other people, you might not be close to them in the water and it can be hard to communicate.

Yet, when you’re out there on the water, it’s as if you’ve conquered the world. It seems BRAVE and CRAZY to be on  your own in a plastic contraption, rolling in the current. You look around you and the world looks different and shiny and brand-new. Majestic bridges, green trees, picturesque sailboats. It’s life from a different perspective. You’re small and yet you feel large in the moment.

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This kayaking high is what brought me to ask my audiologist at Helen Keller about waterproof or water resistant hearing aids. She asked me why I was interested, and I may have oversold my love for water activities (I don’t actually do that many). She was able to help me, telling me about a behind-the-ear hearing aid from Phonak that was highly water resistant. It was really exciting to hear about it. I don’t think this technology was around when I was a kid. I selected those hearing aids and now I’m just waiting for them to come in. I’ll review them once I get them.

I can’t wait to try the hearing aids. I needed them this past weekend when I went kayaking on Sunday at the Inwood Canoe Club’s free weekly open house. Uptowners should definitely check it out. The current was a little all over the place  and I had trouble hearing the leader. But I had informed them I wore hearing aids and someone stayed with me to help me navigate better. It was an absolutely beautiful day and it made me eager to go kayaking again soon. There is a really amazing MTA kayaking getaway deal that I’ve done before and highly recommend- would definitely do it again.

The word “disabled” doesn’t stop me from doing things. I know if there are any challenges, I just need to come up with a solution. I believe that being open about my challenges empowers me. I believe it helps others to better understand me. Asking for help and communicating what I need requires inner strength and confidence. It would be easy to pretend I heard everything or walk by myself (slowly, away from the group) or not go to the bathroom because I don’t want to figure out where it is. But that would be sad and I really wouldn’t be fully participating or enjoying experiences. There’s no shame in asking someone to repeat or holding onto a friend’s arm in the street. I’ve even had a movie theater usher help me find my seat on my way back from the bathroom. It might be a little awkward, but it’s nothing compared to living a life of fear and shame. If you know something that invigorates you, pursue it full force and turn any obstacles into hills you just walk over 🙂

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