Days habit missed: One. Gah!
Ease of doing daily: Moderate
Equipment required: Fitness tracker or pedometer (I use a Fitbit One)
Is it something I’ll continue? Yes
I’ve had my Fitbit for nearly two years now. I originally bought one as I liked the idea of see how generally active I was being. For the first few months I kept an eye on it and it did start to change my behaviour – I would park further away in the car park, always use the stairs at work (I was working on the 3rd floor at the time) and walk rather than drive if it was possible. Most days I clocked up a reasonable number of steps, but there were definitely days where I was really busy at work or having a lazy day at the weekend where sometimes I didn’t get more than a couple of thousand.
So last year, I decided that I would aim to get 10000 steps every single day. The 10k is often touted as what we should be aiming for, although sometimes you’ll read that that’s the bare minimum, and we should be aiming for much more – especially if weight loss is a goal (which isn’t what I was aiming for by the way). However, this felt like a challenging, but manageable target.
And by and large, I’ve achieved it. This has definitely meant planning more. Sometimes, on a day when I’m working from home, I’ll pop out at lunchtime for a 3 mile run, but this only gets about 6k steps by itself, so I have to be generally more active too. If I’m going to be in meetings all day, I’ll aim to walk first thing in the morning. I’m not averse to a bit of jogging on the spot if needs be – I knew that Christmas would be a challenging day, but by breaking it down into manageable chunks, I managed to achieve it (just!) – and I squeezed in a walk I probably wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise.
Incidentally, the one day I missed was on holiday in France last year – we spent the best part of 9 hours in the car and when we eventually arrived at our campsite it was 10pm and I only had 5000 steps on the clock. Bitter experience has shown me that this would take about 30-40 mins of jogging on the spot to rack up and it’s a bit of a noisy exercise in a caravan, plus not ideal biomechanically, so I had to let that one go!
So what benefits have I seen? Well, it’s certainly changed my behaviour, I do look for every opportunity to walk rather than drive or take public transport. I changed jobs and my office is now on the first floor in a single building, so I try and get out for a walk every lunchtime. I never used to take a break at lunchtime, and I feel much better for getting some fresh air most days. I’m generally more active – on the days I’m working from home (which can often be quite inactive days), I make a conscious effort to stand up when I’m on the phone and move a bit more which is good – sitting still for long periods definitely isn’t advisable. I think it’s had a knock on effect on the family too – we’ll go out for more walks with the children (this has improved since I bought Paul his own Fitbit for our wedding anniversary last year!).
This is definitely something I’ll continue – building incidental exercise into the day can only be a good thing and I’ve really noticed the benefits of spending more time outside.