The Pedometer Wars

In February, before I even really got started on this, I bought a pedometer. I did some research, read quite a few reviews and settled on a tiny one (about the size of a book of matches) made by Ozeri. I recommend this odometer, it is completely reliable and very tough. Here’s the link, if you’re interested. Day in and day out, I counted steps. I wear the pedometer from the minute I put on my clothes until I take them off at night, so I also end up wearing it on the treadmill sometimes. Because I wear it on the treadmill, I know that it’s accurate. My regular walking stride is two feet. It takes me 2640 steps to log a mile.

The biggest day I had in terms of steps was around 14,000– and it was one day last March when I was at the Louisville dog show. I was there with three dogs– an Irish Red and White setter, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Scottish Deerhound. That morning I hand walked each dog for a distance of about 8 blocks. Each. Louisville is a huge show, and on this day, my parking spot was about a quarter-mile from the door. I had to make three roundtrips to unload the dogs. The various rings were scattered all over the building and the Scottish deerhound judge was a little on the sadistic side, making us “go around” the 50 foot ring (at a run) about seven times. Once the showing was done for the day, my friend and I made the rounds of the vendors. Then it was more trips to the car to load up the dogs, and back to the hotel where they were all walked again. Then I had to run out to Target to pick up some things and being it was an unfamiliar Target, I wandered round and round.

Most days though, I manage to log about 5,000 steps, provided I’m not sitting all day doing research or writing. It was a wonderment to me though how so many people were logging 10,000 plus steps per day even though they sat a desk all day underwriting insurance, or serving as a receptionist, and going home at night to flop in front of the television. One of them said she walked in place in front of the tv. What do I know? Different strokes for different folks.

Then last week my husband bought a pedometer for six dollars at a Tuesday Morning store. (If you’re not familiar with Tuesday Morning, they are an upscale salvage retailer, who sell nice merchandise at a fraction of its list price. Interesting place, you never know quite what you’ll find.)  I looked a bit askance at him when he said he wanted it, but really, fine. He’ll see how hard it is to rack up 5,000 steps.

The first day he had 14,000 steps.

Friends, he never left the house. Yes he went down to the basement two or three times. He walked out to the garage. He went upstairs once or twice. These are things that I too do everyday, and I can assure you it’s not five miles worth. He insisted that the pedometer was accurate. He swore up one side and down the other that it didn’t count as steps the Saab lurching in and out of potholes down Salem Avenue.

He said “See, I told you I was putting in as many or more steps than you.”

Ah.

My husband is past retirement age. He is reasonably fit. He has the kind of metabolism that allows him to sit down and eat a half-gallon of ice cream in a single sitting and not blow up into some kind of balloon. There’s no competition here. I am just trying to stay active. I don’t want to have a contest of who is walking more steps, and certainly not with someone wearing a pedometer that counts steps when you jiggle it in your hand. Encouragement would have been nice, instead of having to deal with someone else’s competitive drive.

Weirdly, all this corresponded with the clip breaking off my own pedometer. I’m waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail. I still wear the pedometer, but I know it is only logging about half the amount of steps. I have checked it by simply counting steps as I walked, and by measuring it against the treadmill. It’s too snug in my bra, apparently.

Then one day, my husband’s pedometer turned up on the dresser upstairs where it has stayed ever since. I appreciate that he thinks some things are worth arguing about. On the other hand, it rests there like a toad, mute yet accusatory. Maybe I’ll get him an Ozeri for Christmas and we’ll really see who’s walking . . .

Today’s target 70 Steps (not accurate) 2183.

Breakfast: yogurt with granola. Lunch: Spring rolls by Lean Cuisine (not as awful as it sounds) half a bell pepper, half a cup of frozen yogurt. Dinner was off the diet: two glasses of red wine, a few ounces of cheese, some grilled vegetables, a bit of pate, a bite of brownie, a tiny tart, a little puff pastry, three bites of a grilled sandwich. But I enjoyed myself. 

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