Wednesday, January 9, 2013

10,000 Steps

I would say that I have a moderate case of OCD. Other people (like Husband) would probably tell you I have a serious case of OCD.

My OCD manifests itself in 3 main ways:

  1. I hate clutter and am constantly cleaning, purging junk, and putting things away. This goes so far that I hate putting up Christmas decorations because they just feel like clutter to me... when Christmas is over I am always so relieved to put it all away again. 
  2. I'm very bad at being spontaneous and feel the need to plan out every aspect of most events, from a simple Happy Hour to international trips.
  3. I love to track things. Anything! I keep an obsessively accurate 10-month cash flow plan for our household budget (updated many times a week), I have a 3-year savings plan, I count my calories, my miles, the books I read, the number of vacation days I have at any given time, the movies I go to, my weight, etc etc.
Wow, I'm sounding like a nutcase, aren't I? 

So, to the point of this entry. Since I love to track things so much, I had been wanting a pedometer to see how much I walk each day outside of running - especially when I go on trips like Boston and soon, to Italy. After tons of research (just kidding, I kind of just picked this one out of the air), I added a Fitbit One to my Christmas Wish List. 

I must have been a good girl, because Santa brought one for me and I started to use it on January 2. 

The Fitbit measures steps, flights of stairs, miles, and calories burned. The thing is tiny - I hook it to the center of my bra and forget that it is there for the rest of the day. You can log into an online account to adjust goals for each of these aspects, but despite being obsessive about tracking, I am lazy about settings so I left mine at the default goals of 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles), 10 flights of stairs, and 2,000 calories. 

Of course we all like to think of ourselves as actually being more active than we are. I was sure that it would be easy for me to reach my goals. I live in a two story house and go up and down the stairs what seems like 50 times a day. My office is also two stories; my cube is on the first story and all of the truly important things (bathroom, fridge with water filter and my lunch/snack horde, copier, mail machine) are all upstairs. The walk from the parking lot to the office is not a short one, and when I go to stores I don't circle the parking lot trying to find the closest spot - I just park no matter how far the spot is from the entrance. When I want a snack from the kitchen, 90% of the time I get off my butt and walk in there to get it instead of getting Husband to bring it to me.

Then of course I run 3 days a week (sigh... only three... but better than none).

10,000 steps? EASY!

Imagine my surprise when I only logged 5,410 steps on my first day. 

I was appalled! How could it be possible? Maybe 10,000 was a high goal. I googled how many steps are recommended per day. It's 10,000.

Well, it was the first day. And I didn't run that day - I swam - and the Fitbit doesn't track swimming, after all.

The next day, Thursday, I did a 4 mile run while wearing the Fitbit and had 11,312 steps. Whew!

Over the past week, I have consistently had under 10,000 steps on days that I do not run, only exceeding when I run more than 4 miles. This in spite of the fact that I have gone out of my way to go for a walk during lunch and fit in as many steps as possible everywhere else.

I've come to the realization that 10,000 steps is a really difficult thing to achieve day in and day out when you sit at a desk 8 hours a day and live in the burbs. If I was running 4 miles every day and walking to lunch, work, and shopping, it would be simple. But I can't. It's a real struggle for me to get those 10,000 steps, even though I consider myself a pretty active person. 

What my fitbit activity meter generally looks like
mid-day, after hours sitting at a desk.
Sad little flower.

That realization reminded me how difficult it is to be truly active, fit, and healthy. There are so many things in our lifestyles that hold us back: long commutes, desk jobs, non-walkable cities, the lure of our TVs, computers, iPads and Netflix. 

With the help of my new favorite OCD toy, I hope that I can start hitting that 10,000 more often. Not sure how I'm going to do it yet - on days that I don't run, it seems impossible. In the meantime, I'll have fun obsessively tracking every step and flight of stairs. 

Because I'm weird like that.

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