While we were in Green Bay visiting the big truck company the executive in charge of safety kept parking a long way away from various destinations. He said he was doing that to accumulate more steps. We probably looked confused, so he fished out of his pocket this little black electronic thing that tracks his steps, the number of flights of stairs he climbs and other things that add to his activity levels. He said he knew it was silly but he liked to see how active he could be. I asked how many steps he usually took in any given day. He said somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 depending on his schedule.
He talked about discipline in several meetings that we attended. He’s retired military so he knows a thing or two about discipline and it’s a hallmark of his management style. He says it takes discipline to follow safety rules every time, every day, every mile driven. It takes discipline to make sure you get enough sleep before you begin your driving shift. It takes discipline to pull off and rest when you’ve reached the maximum hours of service allowed. It even takes discipline to call in when you know you’re not fit, for whatever reason, to drive.
I liked that concept, and I admired him for recognizing and taking care of himself even if it just meant parking far away from the lunch reservations on a cold windy day when it would have been more comfortable to park next to the door. I’ve parked out at the end of the parking lot at work for years for exactly the same reason. Sometimes it’s the only exercise I get aside from walking the stairs up to my 4th floor desk. But I had no idea how many steps I walked in any given day.
So I bought myself a little black electronic Fitbit. The first day I tossed it in my pocket and didn’t think about it till I got home. Lounging on the couch I pulled it out and realized that in an entire day I had only walked a little over 2800 steps. Sure I climbed 8 flights of stairs. But still. I handed it over to my husband for inspection and that’s the last I thought about it that night.
In the morning I looked for it on the coffee table, on the dresser, up in the cubbyhole in the kitchen where I keep my work badge. It was nowhere to be found. I searched the pockets in my pants, checked under the couch, and finally gave up as time was ticking and I was going to be late for work.
That night I searched some more to no avail. It was garbage day the next day and husband put the garbage out after I went to bed. In the morning I hauled the garbage back from the curb and went through all the stinky bags just in case the Fitbit got caught up in newspapers or magazines or who knows what. No luck.
So I figured it was really lost and I was bummed. How wass it possible to lose something without even getting up from the couch? I felt old. I had no recollection of getting it back from my husband. He had no recollection of what he did with it after he looked at it either. I swear we need someone to follow us around and pick up stuff we leave laying around in random places. Later in the week I got a Fitbit update in my email. It said it hadn’t been used since the previous Monday and it had a sad face to make me feel even worse.
My husband must have felt bad too because he went out and bought me a new one! Over the weekend he was entering the new data into their website, getting me all set up to get back to work when he noticed there was a way to see if the Fitbit was syncing with the laptop. And as he watched it did. The website said that if you lost the Fitbit (apparently I am not the only senile Fitbit owner out there) you could take your phone or your laptop around to places it might be and check to see if it synced. And if it did it would be within 15 feet. The laptop was sitting on the coffee table. Right next to the couch. We looked at each other and started to laugh.
Then we tore the couch apart.
In addition to the fork and the spoon and several really gross pieces of random crud there was a little black electronic thing between the cushions. Resting I guess, getting ready to count steps and flights of stairs and calories used. Back into my pocket it went. Sunday Katie and I walked over 5000 steps. (She says she knows she had that many because wherever I go she goes. Naturally.) Today, back at my desk it’s down a couple thousand. Obviously I sit too much at work, but isn’t it good to have that gut feeling validated with real numbers? And I did 11 flights of stairs today.
So far. There’s a load of laundry in the basement just calling my name.
That’s my Fitbit saga. I’m going to try not to put it in the laundry or lose it in a restaurant or the couch cushions again. I’m going to try to install some discipline and get my feet moving. Even when I’m at work. I’ll be interested in finding where I can add steps in my daily life. I bet it won’t be that hard.
But 10,000 to 13,000 steps a day? Now that’s going to take some real discipline.