Today marks the start of something called the Global Corporate Challenge. According to their website, companies all over the world will be taking part, and the idea is to help the world become fitter by encouraging all of us (yes, us, of course our company are doing it) to walk at least ten thousand steps a day for the next sixteen weeks..
Each of us has given a small counter called a Pulse which we are to carry at all times. They call it an “accelerometer” because it measures not just steps, but all of your movement, converting it into the equivalent of steps. The website says that every form of exercise counts, including swimming, although the next paragraph of their instructions says that the Pulse is not waterproof and should not be worn while swimming.
Those of you who have just wondered about one particular form of exercise should remember that in order to have somewhere to carry your Pulse you will have to do it with your socks on.
I opted to join because ten thousand steps sounds like an awful lot, and I hoped that it would encourage me to get fit enough to some day manage it. We’ve had our Pulses since Friday, just to try them out and get used to them. On Sunday I did 2,900 steps, but that was because Sunday was an unexpectedly glorious day, and I spent most of it asleep in the garden. On every other day I’ve done between eleven and thirteen thousand.
Now that I’ve discovered that I do ten thousand steps in a normal day anyway I’ve kind of lost interest, with fifteen weeks and six days to go.
The other benefit is supposedly to the company, as it will encourage camaraderie (Spellcheck just drew a squiggly red line under that word so I looked at what I’d typed. It was the word “comaderaderie”. Well, I’m sure it encourages that too). A questionnaire that each of us filled out when we first logged on asked how we feel we get on with our workmates, and you can see it coming from a mile (about three thousand steps) off that in sixteen weeks time they will ask how we feel about them now, believing that we will all admit that this has brought us closer together. It’s the bipedal equivalent of falling backwards and having a workmate catch you.
Anyway, by the time I got to work on this first morning I’d already done three thousand three hundred steps. Indeed I’d done 681 before I’d even left the house, which is what happens when you run downstairs, put the kettle on, run back up to bring your clothes into the bathroom, go back down to make your tea, go up and have your shower, eat your breakfast while walking up and down the kitchen (this is not for the challenge, I always do it) then run back up to clean your teeth, before racing around gathering lunchbox, bag, wallet, etc and heading out of the door. If Henry Ford’s time and motion people saw me they’d have a fit.
Add another 1400 steps for the walk to the bus, 1000 more for the walk at the other end to the office, and you’ll find that the steps do not add up to 3,300. This is because you’re not counting the 200 steps I did on the bus. Now, my bus is not a Flintstonemobile, we do not drive it with our legs out of the bottom. No, the two hundred steps are a testament to the state of Dublin’s roads and to the state of the suspension of Dublin’s buses.
I think the poor Pulse thought that I was white-water rafting.