I'm currently sporting a new toy clipped to my waistband, one which is meant to encourage a non-sedentary lifestyle and promote overall well-being...but I'm a bit concerned that our relationship may already be heading in an unhealthy direction instead. Let me explain: of course by now you've guessed it's a pedometer. (Or if not, I don't even want to know what you imagined I had attached to my pants...) I bought it after reading for the umpteenth time that "experts" recommend everyone aim for 10,000 steps per day, their so-called gold standard for accruing an adequate amount of movement to be exempted from the dreaded "lazy, lumpy couch-potato" category. Now, I consider myself a pretty active person...but that struck me as a huge number, and I began to wonder how I would stack up. Was I naively fooling myself into thinking I got enough up-and-about time, or would I be pleased by my personal stats?
After exhaustive research (of course) I purchased a simple model that measures steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned. Pretty standard stuff, really. But then it gets tricky. My little electronic buddy also "rewards" you for being on track towards the 10,000 daily steps plateau...with a smiley face. I can just hear you thinking: who the heck cares? It's only a stupid little emoticon on an inanimate device. True....BUT, I found out that--if it decides you're slacking off--the image loses its smile...and looks slightly...reproachful. (Okay, that may just be me, feeling guilt from the chastisement I sense...on my imaginary, naggy workout coach...) My logical brain understands that this is utterly ridiculous...and yet I'm such a Type-A perfectionist that I dare not allow myself to finish the day with less-than-acceptable results. So how do I remedy this situation? I walk down our neighborhood street to the end and back, tacking on enough paces to reach the special number and WIN. Because I don't ever want to see a frowny face, no ma'am, not me!
On top of that...pressure...today I discovered a big flaw that's causing me additional distress. Because it's after 9 p.m. and I technically have several thousand more steps to go, before I hit the magic digits. But my workout for the day was an intensive 75-minute power yoga class that left me with drenched clothing and shaking muscles...which my traitorous pedometer doesn't acknowledge in the slightest! I ask you, how is that fair? And now, after all that exertion, I'm also starving-- why don't you go ahead and count me strolling to the kitchen for a snack, huh? How do you like me now? Oh, and since I need to refill my iced tea, I'll make TWO trips, so there! Suck it, my measly opponent, I will prevail! (Whew! You think there's an intervention for a problem like this?)
So, you see, I haven't decided if all of this comes under the heading of "positive, competitive motivation"...or "stress-induced-ulcer-waiting-to-happen". Seriously, these things should be sold with a big honkin' warning label for people like me. And now I've got to get up and walk around some more, because I only have a few hours until bedtime and I will reach 10,000 freakin' steps. Even if all I really want to do right now is sink into the sofa and watch reruns of Castle, I will meander nonchalantly down the street a few times in my pajamas...all in the name of healthy living. (Aannnnd the neighbors all agreed, "Yeah, she's mentally unbalanced...but so physically FIT! Sigh...)