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Remember when walking was something you did rather than measured?

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:06am

Most days I walk around, sometimes inside, my local park two blocks away which takes me just about an hour door to door. I've worn a pedometer enough times to know it's about 7,200 steps. I also know approximately 2,000 steps make a mile, so this walk is slightly more than 3.5 miles. And if I cared to spend even more brain cells on it, this would tell me I walk about a sixteen-minute mile. 

Well, this summer my husband made a commitment to exercise and was out the door every day at 7 AM to do his walk/run and Chi Gong in the park. Of course, being a techno-guy, he was not content merely to strap on a pedometer, but strapped something on around his chest to measure his heart beat, something else on his sneaker to measure his footstep, something that surveyed his walk from the air (thus the photo) so he could come home and look at where he'd been on his computer--as if he didn't know--and a watch that told him how far he'd gone both in miles and kilometers, at what speed and probably who he passed. Somewhere in his enthusiastic sharing, I stopped listening. Sorry, bad wife.

One day we walked together and wanting to share his toys he demonstrated how each worked, making them available to me out of his deep love and generosity. By time he showed me how I'd know from his watch (rather than my head) that my 3.5 mile/hour walk was about a 16 minute mile I said, "That's nice, but who cares?" Bad, bad wife. 

I know everything I need to know having worn a pedometer a few times: like that I have 2,800 steps left to cover to fulfill the 10,000 steps a day recommendation for health and that the ordinary running around I do every day typically has me fulfill that target. I don't need to see where I went when I get home, thank goodness my memory isn't yet that faulty, and I don't need to confirm that my heart was beating while I was walking, thank god for that. Or, how many beats my heart makes per footfall. If I can put one foot in front of the other at a good pace without falling over I figure I'm doing more than fine.

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