With levels of obesity rising there has been much in the media recently about the importance of simple walking as exercise. A suggestion often made is that we should aim to take 10,000 steps per day, a level of activity which can increase fitness levels, help you lose weight, decrease the incidence of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes and lower stress levels.
My husband has always liked walking, and has always walked the mile or so to work and back each day. Rain or shine. I fact the only obstacle is those work colleagues, who, thinking his car must have broken down, keep stopping to offer him a lift.
He felt kind of smug, knowing that most of his workmates drive to work, sit in front of a computer all day and drive home. At least he walks to work, sits in front of a computer all day then walks home. So he decided to get a pedometer and see whether he was getting anywhere near the magic 10,000 steps.
He was pretty impressed with his results; he averaged over 7,000 steps per day, which could easily be at least 3,000 more than most of his workmates. Less than 5,000 counts as a sedentary lifestyle, according to Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, Assistant Professor of Health Promotion, Arizona State University and author of Manpo-kei: Art and Science of Step Counting, and 5,000 to 8,000 steps are ‘low active’.
So, ok, how many steps a day does a mother do? I finally got my hands on the pedometer - at last, my chance to show what I did all day while I was at home!! I clipped it on my belt first thing in the morning and away I went. The clicking each time you take a step is pretty quiet – muffled if you put a jumper over it.
My normal morning was probably much like any other mother’s: Get kids dressed, get them breakfast, the walk to school – about five minutes from where we live. Trip to the supermarket, by car, but walking round with lively two-year-old. Home, chores, more running round after toddler, then lunch. My husband phoned at lunchtime.
“How many steps have you done so far then?” I looked at the pedometer for the first time, having forgotten about it’s presence on my hip. “6,023.”
More household and child related activity, walk to school to collect child, evening meal. Yes, I did well over 10,000 steps on that ordinary day. My husband didn’t believe me, so I wore it the next few days too, and each day did well over the recommended 10,000 steps.
So next time someone wonders why you are so tired after ‘just a day at home with the kids’, now you can tell them!
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.