24 November 2015


so at work the other day, we were all given pedometers.

it's for a competition, to encourage us to get healthy "with the goal of reaching 10,000 steps – about 10 kilometres! – per day."


firstly, 10,000 steps is more like about 8km, although obviously it depends on your gait. secondly, the main inspiration here is nothing to do with anyone's health and well-being, it's because one of the elevators is being shut down, and they want to prevent employees from using the elevator. it's more about surveillance than health.

but i have never been fond of the whole pedometer trend.

i know that when i walk briskly and take long strides, it's better for me - i know that because i can feel it, in my legs, lungs, and heart.

"why don't you try taking more little steps," suggested my kid, for the sake of upping my score in the competition.

and that's why i don't like pedometers. it feels more like a way to game the system than anything. doing a one-block sprint to the bus stop once a day will do more for bone density than a one-mile saunter taking baby steps, but which gets you more points on the pedometer? striding gives you a better cardio work out, but also gets you fewer points on the pedometer. sustained activity - like walking 5k all at once, briskly - will do more for your heart than spreading the same number of steps throughout the day, 10 steps here, 10 steps there.

having this cute little gizmo allows someone who is not doing all that much to tell themselves they're doing great.

also, the pedometers they have given us are really poor quality! they don't count every step, or they over-count, or they stop counting and reset themselves. i can rack up 50 steps just by jiggling it with my finger.

so what's the point? there is none! it's just the usual quick-fix consumer (non)solution to the age-old problem: we just need to eat less (or better) and move more, but most people don't want to make the effort.

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