The human body is probably the most amazing and most complex machine any of us will ever own. Despite it being the only one we’ll ever own, it is also probably the most abused, misused, neglected and mistreated bits of tech we have.
It was while I was reading, river out of Eden – Richard Dawkins explains why DNA must be thought of as the most sophisticated information system imaginable. He also discusses the mechanisms by which evolution has taken place, gradually inexorably, over a period of three thousand million years. Essentially our bodies have evolved to enable us to be mobile and the fact that our bodies and brains provide us with the ability to either fight or flight is the primary reason why any of us are here.
Our body’s ability to be mobile and use energy to avoid or deflect danger comes from the food we eat. Which we all have to thank the bodies of our ancestors as it enabled them to stay one step ahead of predators and avoid other dangers along the way, just long enough for them to procreate and pass the genes down the line to where we are today.
Problems of the modern lifestyle
The concept of burning off the body’s energy stores while doing absolutely nothing is kind of exciting until you realize how little you would have to eat in order to avoid putting on extra weight.
Our modern lifestyles are completely at odds with evolution, resulting in the tendency to do everything in our power to move less and expend the minimum amount of energy. All our technological advancements seem to be primarily targetted at making us move less or in some cases even at all while still consuming high calorific foods.
Most of us, prefer to jump into our fossil fuel driven combustible engines to make a 5 minute trip to the shop than to simply walk 15 minutes to get there. It’s highly likely we wouldn’t even get off the couch, preferring to order our shopping via mobile phones and get it delivered to our front door by a drone.
After, spending time reflecting on these amazing facts, and realizing my jeans, I purchased only two months prior two sizes larger than my previous pair, were already starting to get a little tight around the waist.
Why 10000 steps the goal?
I resolved to try and do 10,000 steps a day. After reading up about it and learning more about it.
The 10,000 steps plan was originally derived from a Japanese study, dated back to the 1960s, which indicated there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2000 calories per week through exercise – which is approximately equivalent to 10,000 steps a day or 5 miles a day.
This seemed to be the quick easy fix, reasoning that I may not have time to exercise, but surely I could fit in some walking into my daily routine. After all, I didn’t necessarily want to break out into six packs and muscles or acquire superhuman stamina. I just wanted to buy a pair of jeans that were are or two smaller!
I convinced myself that If I had a device to help monitor and gauge the number of steps on a daily basis, this would ensure I at least achieved the minimum required. It also seemed like a valid reason to go out and buy some new tech!
Buying a basic wrist pedometer
It turns out that the figure of 10000 steps was not initially based on any real scientific evidence, and mostly is marketing hype that was initially created by a Japanese Company, Yamasa Toki, in 1965 to launch a new pedometer device they called Manopkei.
Manopkei in Japanese roughly translates to 10000 steps meter . The company’s marketing slogan was based around the principle of Let’s walk 10000 steps a day!
The company created a craze in Japan, with walking clubs and events becoming a popular social activity. By the late 1990’s 10000 steps fitness routine made it across the waters to America and it became the unofficial standard for ensuring good level of health and fitness.
The primary reason for buying a pedometer was that I really didn’t want to do all the step counting in my head! I was just shooting convenience and ease.
Being a Tech Geek at heart, I decided that my first move would be to purchase a pedometer. My pedometer of choice turned out to be the Fitbit Charge 2 .
I have to admit that my buying decisions were purely based on that I wanted to buy a Fitbit, based purely on the fact that they were probably the most marketed and widely known brands of Pedometers and Fitbit Charge 2 was the cheapest they offered – at the time.
I resolved to start walking for at least 10000 steps a day, for a month. To establish for myself, if there was any truth in the theory.
How to get 10000 steps a day?
To be honest, I Initially didn’t start with 10 000 steps straight away. I really struggled to get my step count much past 5000 steps. It made me realise just how sedentary I had become during my average workday.
I think this was further compounded by a lifestyle choice, I made several years ago, to engineer my life so that I could work from home 100% of the time.
Over the years this has had very many advantages but it does have its disadvantages. Probably the biggest one is that I don’t really have a clear start and end points of my day. I also don’t have a daily commute routine which I could incorporate into my daily step count.
I do have a tendency to get so absorbed in what I’m doing, that I just don’t notice time. Often I found myself only venturing out the house on the weekends with the family. The rest of the time I’m pretty much glued to the chair in my office.
Finding the time to walk 10000 steps
I found myself walking the kids to school then on the way taking a longer route back home. It wasn’t long thereafter that I found I was hitting the default setting of 10 000 steps fairly regularly. Initially, this was on average maybe 2-3 times a 7 day week.
The more walking I did, the more I wanted to. I started to use walking as a little disconnect time from the laptop. Taken time to listen to some Podcasts or an Audio book or even just time for reflection and deep thinking.
I made a point of never engaging in telephone calls during my walk time. Walk time became much needed personal time.
I can’t really say if I actually lost weight during this period of time, but I can honestly say I did started to feel mentally energized and healthier.
When I first started using the Fitbit Charge 2, I never used the accompanying web portal, I just wore the device and checked my step count using the device. Only after a few months, I logged into the web portal and downloaded the app to explore the functionality a little further.
I discovered I could also track my food and fluid intake and measure this against my daily calorie burn.
I started making more time in my day, for not only walking but I started taking up running and cycling. I also started venturing into the gym again. It had also suddenly become mentally essential to feel the buzz on my wrist as I hit the 10,000 step count. I found my step count had gradually increased to 15K+ per day.
Friends started asking if I had lost weight and my jeans were starting to feel looser around the waste. I was also starting to make healthier eating choices. Not really a diet as such, but just starting to think a little more about my food options.
It’s now been 8 months since my Fitbit charge purchase and I have found my lifestyle has changed considerably. I now consciously make an effort to exercise every day. This has provided a fresh new outlook on life and exercise.
I have managed to lose over nearly 10 Kilograms in body weight. Starting out at 120Kg and coming down to 110kg. Which could actually put down to consciously to try walking a little extra every day.
In many ways, buying a Fitbit Charge 2 was probably one of the greatest investments I’ve ever made. Providing me with the motivation to start moving more. I found myself starting look for ways to introduce some walking into my daily routine.
I recommend going for a walk first thing in the morning before starting work, initially this may just be a quick saunter around the block or walking the kids to school. These walks over the next few weeks and months should gradually became longer as you start to realise the benefits, not really from a physical fitness, but rather more mental health perspective.
A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.