The journey of 10,000 steps begins with a pedometer


The word pedometer, also known as a waywiser, began sauntering through the English language nearly 400 years ago, though devices that measure the number a person’s footsteps have been around longer than that.  It’s taken me some time, but I finally have one, securely clipped to my waistband to record every step I take. I won the device by going to a health fair at work sponsored by our insurance provider. By uploading my step count, I can win more prizes; sadly, none of which are dark chocolate.

I am happy about the pedometer for two reasons. First, I like the idea that my school and insurance company are focusing on health rather than sickness. And second, I like being rewarded for taking care of myself. I wish the rewards included reduced premiums for making good choices, but then the yearly salary of the company’s CEO – over $14 million – wouldn’t be so healthy. And like all insurance companies, mine is all about that kind of health.

Not my pedometer or your father's pedometer. More likely your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather (if he happened to be from southern Germany).

Not my pedometer or your father’s pedometer. More likely your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather (if he happened to be from southern Germany).

Besides making me happy, the pedometer reduces my paranoia a bit. I have a terrible habit of reading about medical horrors. In the age of the Internet, this is a very bad habit indeed. I have instant access to what is killing me, and you’d be surprised about how many germs, bacteria, viruses, syndromes, and diseases have it in for me. And now, chairs.

For millennia people have turned their backs on chair and mooned them – yes, mostly behind layers of clothing, but still. And do you think chairs just take it sitting down? If you answered yes, you’re right. Most chairs just sit there, though the occasional chair may swivel or rock. However, if you answered yes, you’re also wrong, because now chairs’ evil intentions have been revealed.

Sitting four hours or more at a time negatively affects insulin levels, good cholesterol, fat-burning ability, and bone density. Long-term sitters have shorter lives, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how much you have saved for retirement. (Don’t take my word for it – about the chair sitting, not the retirement – take these words or these ones or these ones, but please put them back when you’re done.) So those lush, comfy recliners with cup holders and places for your remote calling you to sit back and relax are really just electric chairs covered in fabric. This saddens me because I always thought I had a good relationship with my rocking recliner where I write most of my posts. I’m pretty sure I have spent months of my life in that chair, never realizing those were the actual last months of my life. This concerns me. Not only will I die younger than I would have, but I will die out of order.

Several websites on the oracle known as Google recommend 10,000 steps per day to maintain health. That’s my aim and I better get to it. So far this morning, I’ve managed 57 steps from bed to bathroom to kitchen to chair. Only 9,943 to go.


 Photo courtesy of anagoria at Wikipedia.

21 thoughts on “The journey of 10,000 steps begins with a pedometer

  1. Go girl. I have a fitbit that clocks my steps and even imagines I climb stairs. I aim for 10,000 but rarely get over 8,000. It tells me when my battery is low and it’s low a lot and it even let me know that I reached 500 miles. That, of course, was after about six months of walking. Keep trudging.

  2. Bring back “waywiser”! Also bring back “inwit” to replace “conscience”! Love the old English wordstock! As for me, a LIFE in CHAIRS (car, computer, office, classroom, dining table, round and round and round) is slowly killing me and meanwhile quickly making ME stock-y! Happy walking!

    • I love that word “waywiser” too. The old English words are the best. I’m sure at some point, cars will drive themselves, so we can be on our treadmills on the way to work. Won’t that be fun. 🙂

  3. I knew when I saw the title of your post it would make me laugh! And it didn’t fail! As I sit here in my recliner (yes, the one with the cup holder) reading and replying to your post…and sipping peppermint tea. Hmmm…I wonder if my pedometer made it to the new apartment? I tried the stairmaster a week ago (my name for the stairs leading up from my apartment to the roof) and ended up with calf pain for nearly a week. Guess I didn’t warm up enough…

  4. I gave a terrific pedometer app on my iPhone; it even measures the steps I take while riding in a car! I can get to 10,000 steps before I even start my walk!

  5. I always enjoy your unique and poetic way of looking at things. When it comes to longevity, I figure the quality of life, at any given hour or day, is much more important to me than just how long I’ll be able to hang around. But I do love walking, and I’m happy for you that you enjoy it too… and the new gadget sounds like a lot of fun. Wondering just how far you walk, though I’ve no idea how many steps I take myself. Does it turn those steps into kilometers?

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