Sunday, April 26, 2009

One foot in front of the other

Did you know that walking is just a controlled fall? Well it is. An instructor told me so when I was animating my first walk cycle during my studies at Sheridan College. If you don't believe me, watch babies and the elderly walk and you'll know it is true.

I have been wearing a pedometer for a few weeks now, actually ever since recommending it to my first weight balancing pilot project group and I have to say I am extremely impressed with it as a motivation tool!

Now, I love to walk but like everyone else I find it difficult to find the time do it. There are so many other things much more pressing in my life – such as sitting at the computer for hours writing this stuff, which God knows is really, really important! And like many athletic types I discount the benefits of “just walking” vs jumping on the bike or the roller blades for a brisk all out cardio blast or sweating it out at an ashtanga class. It’s too simple. It’s crazy that, if we ate the same way we do now, just by adding 2,000 steps to our day (the equivalent of a 15 minute walk) one could loose weight.

Summarizing some research by Dr. James O Hill Centre for Human Nutrition at University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre:

Sedentary people walk 2,000 – 3,000 steps per day
Average number of steps per day for healthy weight:
- Women 18 – 50 is 5,000 total steps per day
- Men 18 – 50 is 6,000 total steps per day

In general 8,000 – 10,000 total steps will help you lose weight.

The more steps you take the more calories you burn. As your metabolism speeds up it continues to burn fat more efficiently throughout the day and night. Burn more calories than you are consuming – walk a little more, take an extra trip around the grocery store, park a distance away from the mall etc. Move your body everyday. Find “natural” ways to bring walking into your day.

Yesterday I decided to incorporate a “natural” way into my day. I walked to the grocery store to pick up a few items. The round trip would normally take 30 minutes. But, I decided to go by way of Walker’s Line (seemed appropriate) along Fairview and then down Appleby, stopping in at Starbucks for a lemonade to fortify me for the last ¼ leg of the trip. So, yes I was walking for 2 hours. It was a beautiful day and I felt great! Please bear in mind I am in good shape and work physically for a living so I don’t recommend this as a start point for anyone; you have to work your way up to this – not that most people would choose to do so anyway, but you never know maybe someday we’ll see hordes of people walking with packs of food on their backs. It could happen.

Anyway, I love the effect of this little gizmo except for the fact that, and I give this as a word of warning, you will probably go through a few models of pedometers before you find the one that works for you. After logging an incredibly paltry number of steps over the period of a few days I found that to register any steps on my first pedometer I had to run amok stomping around the house like a Tyrannosaurus Rex – the kitties flew out of my way the day I finally tested it for accuracy and found this to be so. And the one I have now (the Sportline 345), though excellent for registering the steps is also excellent for losing them as the reset button is exposed and easily triggered – mid way through my trip to the grocery store I’d registered around 8,000 steps but the Fortino’s must be located in Burlington’s own Bermuda Triangle as I’d somehow lost 7,675 along the way by the end of my trek.

They have pedometers that will tell you distance walked, calories burned, time of day, your mother’s maiden name and what you had for dinner last night – O.K, maybe I’m exaggerating here. Some will store 7 days worth of info. A client of mine who has a much more technical and analytical mind than me, has been through no less than 5 models over the last few years in trying to find just the right one.

Granted, as an engineer her demands are a little more involved than mine. Me, having a simple, easy to please obsessive compulsive side - I get a thrill out of seeing the numbers go up. That alone motivates me, weird eh? I also like pretty, shiny things…but that’s another story.

My advice; keep it simple. Increase the number of steps walked in a day, that’s all that you need to begin to make progress.

So, walk right out there right now and get yourself one (or 5) of these little task masters (after reading product reviews, I think my next purchase will be the Omron HJ112– supposed to be accurate and silent which neither of my others were); find different ways you can add more steps to your day and over time results can be yours. You’ll feel a lot better along the way, be motivated to meet an attainable goal every day which will lead you to your ultimate one.

Just do it and be present – step by step.

By the way, don't you find it amazing that at the press of a few keys we can read a review by a ms pookie out there somewhere who has sorted out all of this stuff already and she likes to knit too. How cool is that! We really all are connected.

Now that I’ve blown a few hours on this I better haul my butt out there and get going before the sun goes down. If you see me on the road give a smile and a wave, you’ll know me by the clicking sound I make while I walk – at least for now.

One hour later: just back from my walk and I'm a little less impressed by this "we're all connected" stuff as the link for the Sportline didn't work so I had to take it out. I'm just hoping that the Omron will. Boy, one gets so jaded so quickly with this technology stuff.

However when I was on my walk (it was at 7p.m. - ignore the time stamp on the blog as I haven't sorted that one out yet) I said "good morning" to other walkers as I passed by them and then had to correct myself to say, "good evening". Well, when I was walking back - at that very same spot someone said "good morning" to me and then corrected herself. So there is there some sort of connection going on there or what?! Do do do do....(somewhere out there a Theremin is playing).

No comments:

Post a Comment