Its the little things

How many times have you heard someone recommend taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking far out in the parking lot, and other such small doses of activity to add to your day, all in the interest of burning a handful more calories. Anyone else ever give those sage words an inward eye-roll? I have. I used to think that exercise didn't 'count' unless I'd at least worked up a sweat or logged a good 22 plus minutes straight. Little extra bits of walking, a few flights of stairs here and there? Humbug, I'd thought. Wouldn't make a real difference.

Then I started wearing a pedometer around the hospital, especially on call nights. The bragging rights about how far I'd gone in a 30 hour shift were real. So I walked more, maybe took more stairs. I realized right away that knowing those little things added up meant something if I could actually see numbers (in the form of fractions of miles) add up on my little pedometer screen. After my first baby, when I really started making the {slow} changes to improve my health, I got a fancier version of a pedometer, which I'd seen contestants on the Biggest Loser sporting around their upper arms. I'd wear it and then each night look at how many calories it said I'd burned that day. I could look at a graph and see a spike during the morning boot camp class I'd been taking. But, there were also other spikes throughout the day–and that's when I realized those were the little moments I'd done something strenuous for a minute or two. And then I stopped rolling my eyes when I heard the old “take the stair” line.

So, those small things really did add up. I tried experiments wearing my little calorie monitor. Days I worked sitting versus standing, stuff like that. It all confirmed the little-spurts-add-up-to-equal-a-lot theory.

In recent news theres been a lot of talk about sitting “being the new smoking”–as in the dangers of a sedentary day to your heath are huge, even if you go for a 2 mile run every day before going to your sedentary job. Now some people are using standing desks for all or part of their work days, even more companies producing treadmills that can be fit under a standing desk and allow you to walk at a very slow pace while typing away at your computer or talking on the phone. I totally want one of these cool treadmill desks. But since most of my day involves raising three little ones, I'm on my feet and moving a lot as it is. I recently read this article about how each minute of intense exercise has a direct effect on your health. Quite encouraging for a busy mom who can't get in a 30 minute run a lot of days but can do a handful of squats here, and a dozen push-ups there.

I'm still not cleared to do a whole lot more than walking and light housework while I recover from my c-section, but I did order a Fitbit flex and tried it out a little. So far I'm liking it. It's better than the old school calorie monitor I tried a few years ago, since I can check my daily burn on my iphone app in real time. And I love how I was able to sinc it to MyFitnessPal app. I'm pretty sure it will get me moving more, even in those little bursts that feel like they don't “count”, even though they do. There are all sorts of pedometers and calorie monitors out on the market. Have you tried any?

 

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  • Bernice October 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I have the Fitbit One and love it. I certainly climb more stairs in a day and am motivated to increase my steps in a day. I also have it connected to LoseIt.com which I have used as an aid to lose 40 pounds. And I like that I can monitor my sleep because insomnia has been an increasing problem for the past few years. Even if it seems like a toy, it is keeping me on track and will help me lose the next 10 pounds.

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