Once upon a time there was a girl who grew up in Northern Virginia, the land of bumper to bumper traffic and something called the “beltway” that made driving both a necessity and a cause of great angst amongst its residents.
The girl rode in cars most the time to get from place to place, as people who live in suburbs do. And eventually received her own license, and along with it, her own level of angst with the traffic situation.
But she also walked around malls and biked around her neighborhood, and until her junior year of high school the school board forced her to do minimal physical activity twice a week.
Walking was part of life. But the main means of transportation? No way. (Do you have any idea how long it would take if you were walking to the Starbucks in my suburb?)
Then she moved to New York City for college and got a rude awakening when she could no longer sit in the back of a minivan or the passenger side of her best friend’s ride.
Suddenly she had to walk everywhere! Everywhere! There were “blocks” and “avenues” and real parks i.e., bigger than the grassy knoll in the center of a cul de sac.
And she dealt with this for six years in the best way she knew how: by taking the subway when something required more than 10 minutes of walking to get to, and taking a cab when it required more than 20 minutes of walking. And then with the advent of Uber? Forget it.
But in all reality, she was still walking way more than she ever had before. And then she graduated and moved to Los Angeles where driving is…scary…
But still necessary.
Because walking is only an option when you are going to the Trader Joe’s that is close enough that your arms won’t get tired from carrying the two heavy reusable bags you remembered to bring with you, because the shade the cashier throws you when you have to BUY a bag is enough to make you want to plant a tree right then and there.
Yes, walking used to be a pain when it was required of me. But I didn’t realize how much I would miss it until it was gone. Or really, how much I was actually doing begrudingly until it was gone. And I don’t think it is all LA’s fault.
How Working Affects Your Walking
The decline in movement is another adjustment you make when you begin working full-time. Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day really doesn’t do much for my daily step count.
I actually have quantifiable proof of this, as I have a Fitbit One. And let me tell you, that thing is judgmental.
For example, I used to break my goal (the One’s mandated goal, not mine) of 10,000 steps a day easy when I lived in New York. I usually broke 20,000 by accident. That’s how much walking I was doing while in school.
And even though it cut down a bit more when I got to LA, I was still breaking that goal by the walking we did after we drove to the place we were going to, to walk around. Did you follow that?
No I’m pretty sure it is just what happens when you start to work.
You sit at a desk. And you do work. Work that means something. Work that helps your company and companies who work with your company by extension. And when you come home, ready to drop from the sheer exhaustion of just working all day, the last thing you wanna do is spend an hour walking around your apartment in circles until you break your step goal. Not that, that I haven’t attempted that a few times…
If you feel your work schedule is getting in the way of your pedestrian goals here are some scary facts to get you walking right now.
Thanks Life Hacker! Well, we can fight that together I think.
Let’s try and move more. And no you don’t need a Fitbit to do it, as it’s expensive anyways and it mocks you when you can’t make the little flower display grow because you are lazy.
A simple pedometer you can pick up at any drug store will do nicely. Or if you keep your phone on you consistently enough to make it accurate, there are plenty of apps that will count your steps too.
Bottom line, we are adults and we need to take care of ourselves. We don’t move as much as we used just because we don’t have the time. And we are now in an office that probably requires less walking to get from office to office than a campus that required crossing the quad to get from class to class.
But we will do it!
I will start by taking fewer elevators (the ones in my building and at work kill my floor count too). I am going to walk during my lunch break beyond the place I bought my lunch. And I may or may not start exercising in the evenings, rather than just on the weekends. Maybe. Depends what’s on TV that night.
Let’s do this!
Do you feel you have the same problem now that you are working full-time? What do you do, or think you could do, to fight it?