With the ongoing left knee problems I had stopped step counting. It was just too depressing. I gave away my Garmin fitness tracker and just walked as much as I could without pain.
Things have been better lately with my knee brace. I’m dog walking a bit more. And of course, I’m still bike commuting.
So recently I decided to activate Google Fit. It’s a bit much putting on the Garmin bike computer for my 5 km round trip commute but I wanted some way to quantify daily activity. So I decided to activate Google Fit on my phone. I have to say I’m impressed. I like its focus on active minutes instead of steps and I like that it counts intensity too.
From the app, “Being active is important to our health, but how much or what kind of activity do you need? Google Fit worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop two activity goals based on WHO’s physical activity recommendations shown to impact health – Move Minutes and Heart Points. When it comes to your health, it’s important to move more and sit less. Earn Move Minutes for all your activity and get motivated to make small, healthier changes throughout your day, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, or catching up with a friend over a walk instead of a coffee. Activities that get your heart pumping harder have tremendous health benefits for your heart and mind. You’ll earn one heart point for each minute of moderately intense activity, such as picking up the pace when walking your dog, and double points for more intense activities such as running. It takes just 30-minutes of brisk walking five days a week to reach WHO’s recommended amount of physical activity shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep and increase overall mental well-being.”
I’ve set my move minutes to 90 a day and my heart points to 20. I’m still fiddling.
I like the clean interface. It’s clearly focused on activity instead of weight loss. And it automatically detects my two main forms of activity–biking and walking. I like not having to wear a watch and I have my phone with me pretty much all the time I’m walking and biking. I mean, yes I walk around inside my house without my phone but I am happy not tracking that activity.
But still I got over 10, 000 steps in everyday and while in Scotland hit some new highs.
That’s a lot of walking.
But there’s at least two ways that this number doesn’t tell the whole story.
The first is altitude. I reached 25,000 steps the day Sarah and I walked up to Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. What’s Arthur’s Seat?
Holyrood Park is a short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the heart of the city. It is a 640 acre Royal Park adjacent to Holyrood Palace.
The parks highest point is Arthurs Seat, an ancient volcano, and sits 251m above sea level giving excellent view of the city; it is also the site of a large and well preserved fort. This is one of four hill forts dating from around 2000 years ago. With its diverse range of flora and geology it is also site of Special Scientific Interest.
Hill climbing isn’t just about the number of steps! By the time we were halfway up we were tired in a way that you’re not when you’re just strolling on the flats. It was also foggy and very wet!
So that’s one issue with the step counting thing. Hills matter.
But here’s another. We had packed our running gear with great intentions of running at the end of the day. So the second problem with step counting is that it may not leave much energy for more deliberate structured athletic training. I began to understand why athletes are often sedentary when they’re not running, biking, or swimming. Certainly at the end of our 25,000 + step day we didn’t feel much like running!
Now I’m back home I think I’ll set the step counting aside and return to our regularly scheduled program of lifting, riding, running, and Aikido.
How about you? How do you combine step counting with workouts? Do you do one or the other, or both?
Well, counting them is easy but getting enough is hard work!
The other day I ran 3 km, I rode my bike, and I did a bunch of housework yet when I looked at my Garmin it read a measly 5574 steps. Short of my modest 7,000 step goal. And much short of the 10,000 step goal many people set.
I confess I’ve been skeptical about the step counting thing. I walk a lot. I have a standing desk. I live in a 3 story house, filled with teenagers, and I feel like I go up and down the steps all day.
But apparently not as much as I might think and especially not on the days I run.
I’ve only been counting steps because I bought a Garmin watch for running. I wanted some way of tracking my pace and heart rate while I run and the one I chose also acts as a general activity tracker, keeping track of steps and reminding you to get up when you’ve been sitting too long. I like the MOVE! reminder.
But I’ve become extra conscious of my sloth like behavior on days that I run or ride a lot. Today, finally, I made it. I ran and I counted 10,133 Steps | 100% of Goal. Phew.