Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Great Pedometer Experiment

I thought a good way to approach the exercise thing was to figure out how much I was getting while doing nothing out of the ordinary. Why overlook the many steps I take during the day? They are no different than if I were walking them in a park or on a treadmill. So I decided to wear a pedometer to see how many steps I took during my workday.

The first workday I took 4,685 steps. Not bad considering I just did my normal work routine, disregarding the few extra steps I had to take because my favorite coworker decided to HELP by taking my closer parking spot.

But a number wasn’t enough. I needed a scale to measure it on. I searched and ran across this good one*:

1) Under 5,000 steps/day may be used as a “sedentary lifestyle index.” (blogger thought: okay, I just feel they want to say lazy, because honestly when you see “low active” in the next one - what else is there to conclude?)

2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered “low active.”

3) 7,500-9,999 likely includes some volitional activities (and/or elevated occupational activity demands) - (blogger’s thought: this is just the 50-cent version of someone choosing to exercise or their work requiring them to exercise more) and might be considered “somewhat active.”

4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as “active.”

5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as “highly active.”

Keep in mind I only counted steps taken during work, so to say I’m in the “sedentary” category seems a little harsh. If I were to breakdown my steps by hour, I averaged 625 steps/hour. Times it by 15 (average hours I’m awake) and you get 9, 375 steps/day. Now I’ll keep in mind I don’t walk as much when I'm at home, so that number is probably high. But I don’t necessarily think its sufficient grounds to bump me out of the “somewhat active” category.

I think the only way an accurate conclusion can be made is if I wear a pedometer for a complete day. Problem is, the second day I tried to wear it to work, I accidentally knocked it off my pants. After it hit the floor, it didn’t want to count for me. I guess it figured if I was going to be careless, I didn’t deserve its services.

I’ll give it the weekend to go over its options: working for me or the trash.

*Sports Med 2004; 34(1):1-8
“How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health.”
Tudor-Locke, C and Bassett DR Jr

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