Thoughts about my pedometer

For the last month I have been using the pedometer on my iPod:   I saw a tweet (and I can’t remember now who tweeted this – sorry!) saying that the average person should walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

“Easy” I thought. And so I switched on my pedometer.

And how wrong I have been.

On an “average” day I walk between 6 – 7k.  I always hit the magic 10k on my day off (Wednesdays):  I do the school-walk twice on that day (5k steps)  take the 2yo to Baby Gym, and the Tesco shop. I honestly think it’s the Tesco shop that makes the difference; during Baby Gym I usually stand around chatting to other mums whilst I watch my little boy throw himself around the assault course.

On the worst (or lowest) day last month I walked just over 3,000 steps.  It was a day when I was delivering stand-up training:  I walked the 10 minutes (down-hill) from the Hotel to the Hospital, delivered 8 hours of training, took a taxi to the station, sat on a train for a few hours, and a second taxi back to my house at the other end.

So, I have started to think about how I can increase the number of steps I walk during a normal working day.  I don’t have a set routine due to the nature of my work, but luckily most days I get to do at least one walk to school (2,500 steps).

But with all the conflicting priorities in my life, I’m not sure I can find a way to walk any more than I currently do.

And this had led me to think about the approach Employers take towards their employees who are trying to lead a healthier life.  There’s increasing evidence that staff who lead healthy lives are more productive. And as a result, it’s not uncommon nowadays to find all types of organisations promoting their highly structured wellbeing agenda.

A number of NHS organisations have promoted the use of pedometers.  The Global Corporate Challenge is one example, and I personally tried to implement Fitbug after seeing the “buzz” it created at another.

In spite of this, I’ve been left with a feeling that there’s a two-tiered approach to Wellbeing:  managers will give their full support of individuals trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle if it comes under a corporate initiative. But there appears to be less  support for the lone employee within an organisation trying to find a way to live a healthier lifestyle.

If I was an individual in an organisation, could I approach my line-manager to request a flexible working pattern that would enable me to achieve  10,000 steps a day?  Or would I be expected to find a way in my private life to achieve this daily goal – a way that would not impinge on my workplace?

More importantly, how flexible are (or should?) organisations be in pursuit of wellbeing?

So I end the week thinking about how I can  increase the number of steps I take every day (except Wednesdays) and feeling lucky that I am my own boss.

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2 comments on “Thoughts about my pedometer

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Carty, Karen Wise. Karen Wise said: New post: Thoughts about my pedometer http://wp.me/pKqEe-ff #hrblogs #wellbeing […]

  2. Kay Phelps says:

    Karen, this is really interesting. One of my clients (Lorica) is just about to blog about the Government and corporates nudging employees into better shape. I wonder how many organisations fully understand the impact of initiatives on their employees (ie by listening) and how they can truly help achieve the goals, not least when there are finite resources to make changes.

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