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Small steps to healthier living

Annalise TobermanWorking a 9-5 job in an office, it’s difficult to avoid a largely sedentary lifestyle, complimented by a desk drawer full of sugary snacks and a kitchen often containing foods – mostly edible – from colleagues’ travels. So when I was first given the opportunity to participate in a company-led pedometer initiative, I was a little afraid of how embarrassingly poor my results would be! I try to stay mobile, for example by walking to the train station instead of taking the bus as part of my commute, and travelling by foot on the weekends when the weather, and company, permit. But does this really compensate for at least 40 hours a week of bum-parked-on-seat inaction? Only one way to find out!

Embarking on the challenge of measuring number of steps taken for a week, I only hoped that the pedometer was over-sensitive and recorded two or three for every actual step. Unfortunately the opposite proved true, as I managed to reset the thing a couple of times. Technical difficulties aside, the results were clear: on the weekend I was walking just above, and on weekdays well below, the NHS’s recommended daily step count of 10,000. Whilst I was already aware that I was probably not active enough Monday to Friday, having quantitative evidence of this really made it hit home.

Consequently, I started to make little changes to my daily routine. I went for short walks during lunchtime, even if only for five or ten minutes. It’s beneficial to do this from a mental health standpoint as well as a physical one; it’s good to get away from the glare of the computer screen and experience ‘the great outdoors’. I also wiped the dust off my Wii Fit board and did ‘free stepping’ while watching TV.

These are not sweeping lifestyle changes; they are, if you like, baby steps (forgive the pun) to healthier living. And I can confirm that after introducing them, my pedometer readings became considerably less shameful! So I highly recommend taking stock of your step count, and seeing where there is room for even just a little more activity in your life.

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