Taking the long way home, or The pedometer incentive

Walking to the beach

“The garage next to mine is empty,” volunteered my apartment manager the other day. “If you want to switch to it, it’s a lot closer to your back door. It’d be easier with the kids.”

It’s true. It is closer. About 25 (I just ran out and checked) steps closer. On first thought, it sounds nice. It would make my life a little easier. But at what cost? On reflection, I keep coming back to a post I read in one of the Walker Tracker forums, which said, in essence, “I don’t look for shortcuts anymore. Now I look for long cuts.”

That is one of the benefits of walking with a pedometer. We know, we all know, that walking is good for us, that each increment of activity we can add to our daily routine is helpful. But it can be hard to remember, sometimes, that taking 25 extra steps from the garage, or 120 extra steps to the next bus stop, is truly valuable. In fact, without a walking program, or even the idea of one, it’s probable that you don’t think of those distances in terms of steps but as obstacles in between Point A and Point B.

Now, however, pedometer in tow — even on the days I don’t check it, I’m aware of it adding to my step counter — I welcome these former obstacles. More steps! I think, as I plug away haphazardly toward my goal of 10,000 steps every day. I, too, look for long cuts. I won’t be moving our bikes and boxes to the closer garage. Last night I walked to the video store, even though the car would have had me watching that much-anticipated episode of The Wire a lot faster.

Every step does add up, and a pedometer makes it more obvious.

What are some long cuts you’ve started taking as you’ve added the pedometer to your life?