AKA Not All Steps Are Created Equal.
My motto is ‘keep moving’. In accordance with this, I have a set goal of moving a minimum of 10,000 steps each day.
10,000 steps is not that much, really. Unless you find yourself in back-to-back meetings from 9 to 5 – in which case you really need to bust a move to get to 10,000 before you turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Welcome to my world.
Working from home means that virtually all my meetings are conference calls.
The upside: My commute is minimal (approximately 75 steps from my bed to my office), AND I get to work in my pajamas.
The downside: I will often look down at my fitness tracker and notice that I’ve moved a sum total of 350 steps by 3:30 pm.
Interesting though is that when I sometimes take a break during lunch to bang out a quick HIIT workout – my step count barely moves. So a high impact interval workout for 30 minutes garners me less steps than if I had just marched around the house for 30 minutes.
Hmmppff. Lots of actual effort; little recognition for said effort.
Several of you commented recently on how great it was that Sam and I took 25,000 steps that day in London.
And it was great.
It just wasn’t that hard, if you know what I mean.
This idea came into sharp contrast for me on Sunday when I took my first hike in 3+ months in Red Rock Canyon.
My total steps for Sunday? 13,771 (of which ~7,500 were in the mountains). Not too shabby, BUT, for the level of effort expended hiking those 7,500 steps, it felt like I should have been rewarded with a way higher step count.
Instead I was rewarded with a great workout for my calves, quads and glutes.
And also with an opportunity to take in nature in all her glory.
The same thing happened yesterday. It was a workday so my ass was planted in front of my laptop and speaker phone from 6am to 2pm (keeping my Eastern Time Zone hours to give myself maximum hiking time while here in Vegas).
My total steps were 11,463 (of which ~9,000 were in the mountains, on two separate hikes). The second hike, in particular, was all about going up and up and up. It resulted in a killer 360 view of the valley, but my step count didn’t align with the level of effort I felt I had exerted.
Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: any movement is better than no movement. It’s better to go slow, move, do something than it is to sit on the sofa watching TV.
But…it’s also important to be cognizant that hitting a designated # of steps per day (alone) is unlikely to get you to optimal health. Sometimes I get so fixated on the analytics and metrics – not to mention the ego boost of knowing you hit a daily target – that I lose sight of which activity I should be doing to help me meet my fitness goals.
Doing squats, lunges, deadlifts or planks will barely register any movement on my fitness tracker, but these are amazing and important movements I need to make time for – even if no one is rewarding me with a pat on the back for hitting a step count – and even if it means 30 minutes less to march around the mall or my house.
All steps created equal? I think not.
Regardless… Keep moving,
p.s. For a stroll down memory lane on two occasions where the step count met the effort of exertion, check out:
- That time I took 35,316 steps trekking up to the 2nd highest peak in Southern California.
- Or that time I took 45,506 steps during my profanity-laced and YouTube-documented descent of 4,380′ from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River only to turn around and climb back up to the top.