The magic number is 10,000, or about five miles. As I understand it, if I do that distance every day for several months, all the ladies will be lifting their tops whenever I pass by. Or at least not averting their eyes in disgust.
Ten thousand steps seems like a lot, but so far it’s not been hard to hit the goal. It turns out most people, unless they’re bedridden, get a fair number of steps just living their boring lives. At my house, for example, I go up and down the stairs about 100 times a day because I keep forgetting why I went up there. So all I need do is make up the difference by getting out and hoofing it for an hour or so. The FitBit syncs automatically to my computer and iPhone, so I am rewarded by these immensely gratifying smiley faces whenever I reach the goal.
I’ve been a runner since my mid-20s, but I haven’t felt much like it the past couple of years. Maybe it’s the various multiplying aches and pains; maybe it’s the Florida humidity. Maybe it’s just laziness. The nice thing about walking is that you don’t have to psych yourself up for it, or don any special gear. You just go out the door and lumber down the streets half as far as you need to go. Then you lumber back. Voila! Ten thousand steps, baby! The downside is that you don’t get that little bump of dopamine that I used to like best about running.
We Baby Boomers, we’re trudging closer to the Great Divide and we can’t take anything for granted, including basic fitness. In her New Yorker piece, Susan Orlean talks about her treadmill desk, which allows her to walk while she’s working. Good for her. But I don’t think I’m ready to go there just yet. It’s important to be fit. But it’s also important not to look like an idiot.