Thursday, 29 May 2008

Walk this way

By now I'm a week inside the GCC and I have to say it's fun.
The GCC is this weird challenge thing sponsored by work. You get into a team of seven people from your workplace, you get pedometers for the entire team, you record how many steps you take per day over a period of four months, and this website keeps track of where your team is compared to other teams. It's built on trust, as no one really knows whether you're lying in your daily steps reports, and there are thousands of teams from all over the world so our team doesn't really stand much of a chance. It's basically designed to be an excuse for people to become fitter and adopt better lifestyle habits, as in - walk.
Naturally, I didn't join because I thought this GCC thing would help me regain whatever fitness I might have had once upon a time. I pretty much lost hope there. What I did join for were the goodies you get upon joining, namely a nice and useful backpack, plus the opportunity and excuse to measure the steps I take. You see, although I don't workout anymore, I do walk some fifteen to twenty minutes each way twice a day between the train station at the office, and I do try to make the most of it. Quantifying the effort there would be a nice benchmark.
Indeed, within a week this quantification led to some interesting observations and quite a lot of insight. For a start, I now know that getting from home to the office takes a little less than 2000 steps. I also know that a typical working day would put me at around 8000 steps in total, measured from the minute I get up in the morning to the minute I go to bed.
However, it is the things I didn't really consider before that are even more interesting. For example, it was funny to see how sensitive my daily walking distance is to the time I go to work: I left for work later than usual on the morning after the Champions League final in which the good guys won despite being inferior for most of the match, so I had to park a bit further away from the train station; this ended up materializing in some 800 to 1000 extra steps. An errand to get some bread earned an extra 1000 steps, too. Another interesting observation offered itself the day I serviced my car: that day I broke a record, 12000 steps.
At the top of the interesting observations are the days in which I don't go to work. Over the last weekend, between grocery shopping and going out for lunch, I clocked 6500 steps per weekend day; that's pretty nice given that I didn't have to walk to the train station or anything like it. What's more, on the day I stayed home with a sick Dylan and the furthest I got was to the postbox I scored almost 5000 steps. According to the GCC parameters, that's more than 3 kilometers of walking, all inside my house! Just in case you wanted to quantify the toll that parenting takes. [For the record, by GCC reckoning, 1km = 1550 steps]
In conclusion, I have to say the following: Although I had no aspirations of improving my fitness because of this stupid GCC thing, it is rather nice to see the numbers go up as you walk along. I do find myself walking or taking the stairs just for the sake of a few ticks. As quantum physics would tell you, measurements do make a difference to the state you're in.

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