Friday, April 22, 2016

Daily Steps

In my previous post about office work outs I waxed poetic about the need to move more at work and my brother asked the simple question "how many steps do you walk a day?".  I had no clue but threw out 4000 steps as if I had one.  Acting upon his suggestion I thought it would be interesting to see what affect different strategies had on my daily step count.  Parking further from the office sounds good but how much does that really gain you and what do I have to do to get to that magic 10,000 step number without retiring early.

First step was to finally purchase a pedometer/step counter.  I just wanted a plain jane step counter that synced with my phone, had semi decent software and was cheap.  I also didn't want a wrist mounted counter.  Based on that criteria I went with the Jawbone UP for only $25.

The central disk can come out of this clip on and you can insert it into a wrist strap for an additional $10.  In fact if you want to use the sleep tracking feature you will need to purchase the wrist strap to sleep with it on your wrist.  However there are some questions on how accurate the sleep trackers are on these types of devices so I don't even use that feature.  Also frankly sleep is definitely not an area I struggle with.  It does track calories also but apparently it doesn't do a great job of that either, so don't go changing what you eat based on the tracker.

However I was strictly interested in steps and this does the job.  I tested the accuracy of the device at the Butler University track.

For steps it was very close 1198 (actual) vs 1212 (step tracker).  This was for 800m.  However the step tracker is off on mileage as it equates 2000 steps to 1 mile and you can see that for me at least 1 mile is roughly 2400 steps, so it overestimates mileage by 20%.

The clip on is very good and does a nice job of attaching itself to wherever you place it.  I just leave it on my belt and I'm good to go.  A good in depth review of the device can be found here.

So first off I needed a step count baseline.  This is me doing what I used to do at work.  Drive to work, park as close as possible, drive to gym, do the same, go home, sit around and watch tv.  Also I took off the step counter at the gym as I just wanted to get an idea of my total movement for a day without a massive spike if I happened to be running that day.

Now I implemented some of the tips from my office work out post.

I parked further away from the office.  Any distance gained here is multiplied by 4 as I drive to the gym at lunch. +350



I walked the stairs twice.  I timed one run and it took almost exactly 4 mins and gained me 325 steps.  So that's good for +650.

I parked further away at the gym. +125

Afternoon ping pong session. +500

Wife Called (I walk when I get calls on my cell phone). +100

This is what the day looked like.  The early evening spike was shopping.

This is my most recent worst day.  This is what it looks like when I work from home, the weather sucks and I'm heads down in work and ignore nearly all reminders to even just stand up.  It's not pretty.

And my best day to date.  Surprisingly this was actually a work day but in general my best days are on the weekend.  This day included my normal work routine, a couple of calls from the wife, boys soccer practice (I walked around field and watched), cut the grass and did some late night moving of boxes.

Edit: since writing this I improved my best and this was on a weekend.  We were preparing the house to be sold and I was pretty much moving somewhat all day.  The big spike is about a 2 mile walk I took while Lennox our youngest slept.

So there you have it based on all this I've set my daily goal as 6000 steps.  For a typical work day this is a realistic goal that requires a bit of effort to hit.  Anything higher just isn't realistic on a work day.  I try to get higher on the weekends, especially now the weather is getting nice.  So with a few modifications it is not too hard to get that daily step count up.  Since upping my step count I have definitely noticed a marked improvement in my general stiffness and mobility.  My lower back pain is a complete non issue now and perhaps this will also help with me finally touching my toes, I can dream can't I?

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