Image source: www.goqii.com
I was the Founder and Director of a health club—Jovenus Fitness Pvt Ltd [2010—2016] and most of my time was spent in doing marketing for my gym. This required me to be in front of the computer for most parts of my working hours.
Besides this, writing has always been my hobby, and at that time , I was seriously considering writing a fitness book (by the way, its now available on Amazon). The app on my iPhone told me that my average daily steps were 2,500. I was not really concerned as I trained with heavy weights few times a week and performed few HIIT sessions. I didn’t smoked and was a social drinker. My diet was super-healthy—consisting mostly plant based foods.
Then one day I was reading a book by Tom Rath (which sold more than 6 million copies and was a New-York times best seller), and he stated:
“Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death. No matter how much you exercise, eat well, avoid smoking, or add other healthy habits, excessive sitting will cause problems. As soon as you sit down, electrical activity in your leg muscles shuts off. The number of calories you burn drops to one per minute, and enzyme production, which helps break down fat, drops by 90 percent. After two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops by 20 percent. Perhaps this explains why people with desk jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease.”
Another study, this one conducted by Rory Heath and published in the British Medical Journal states:
During waking hours, 65 percent of an average person’s day is spent sedentary; that is 9 – 10 hours for adults
Sitting at work accounts for 60 percent of total daily sitting on a weekday, but even on weekends people still sit for 8 hours
Positive associations between cancer risk and sedentary behavior exist:
– Lung cancer risk increases by 54 percent.
– Uterine cancer risk increases by 66 percent.
– Colon cancer risk increases by 30 percent.
The risk of anxiety and depression is significantly higher in those who sit more while increased activity shows better subjective mental health and vitality.
Woo! That was all I needed to ingrain the fact, that besides heavy lifting in the gym few times a week, staying active overall is the key to good health.
The very next day I ordered Fitbit from Amazon. Unfortunately, I lost it soon enough, and since I didn’t had another INR 10,000 ($150) to spare, I started looking for a cheaper alternative.
I came across GOQii and was pleasantly surprised to know they even offered health coaching along with the band. Although I didn’t needed coaching (since I was a health coach myself) I decided to order the band as it looked great value for money— INR 2,000 for the band and 3 months coaching (This may not be the exact figure as I bought it few years back)
The concept of 10,000 steps a day
Our genetics were formed few million years ago, and if you realize our forefathers were almost never obese. With the recent mega-success of the paleo-diets I think it makes sense to turn to our ancestors for some advice.
In James H. O’Keefe’s comprehensive research on the activity of hunter-gatherers, he states:
“A large amount of daily, light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required. Although the distances covered would have varied widely according to hunting and foraging routines, cultures, weather, seasons, ages, etc., most estimates indicate that the average daily distances covered were in the range of 6 – 16 km.”
The equivalent of 6 – 16 km is approximately 3 – 10 miles. The average person’s stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long. That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles. A sedentary person may only average 1,000 – 3,000 steps a day.
What we need to do is focus on taking at least 5,000 steps every day and gradually increase it to 10,000 steps.
Here are few things you can start doing every day to come close to taking 10,000 steps:
First thing first—Buy a fitness band.
There are many options available on Amazon. Go-Qii by far, is one of the best options available as off now (I only recommend something that I have tried long enough to understand its value— both in terms of cost and quality). You are more likely to walk more, when you have a specific target to work towards and means to measure it throughout the day. This fact has been confirmed by this systematic review.
Make small changes in your routine.
-Take stairs instead of using a lift whenever you can.
-Walk to your grocery store if it’s within a mile distance of your home.
-Similarly walk to your gym if you think you can.
-If you have kids, make sure you choose activities that require everyone as a family to move around, even if it is within the house.
-Use standing desk. According to this study, chronic sitting is touted as the new smoking. Use of standing desk (and sit-stand desk) is widely getting acceptable in offices around the world.
-Whenever you watch TV, make it a point to get up when a commercial come.
-Stand and walk while talking on the phone.
Its been over two years now since I have been wearing my Go-Qii fitness band, and not one day has passed that I have removed it from my wrist (Not even while sleeping; I am serious). My step count averages in the range of 7,000 to 10,000 per day and overall I feel energetic throughout the day. I always aim to stand at least 50 percent of the time, when working on a computer using my standing desk.
Both these habits combined has not only allowed me to burn extra few hundred calories, but have drastically improved my health.