Over time we become what we do, so get up and move!

December 17th, 2016

The step counter is a wonderful physical therapy tool. For the past 25 years as a competitive runner, weekly mileage has been my primary barometer for fitness. Lately I have also been motivated by my daily step count, which gives me exercise credit for all daily activities not just running. The more I sit the less the number changes. The more I sit the sooner my back begins to hurt, and back pain is a reminder of the negative effects of sitting.

Popular medical advice suggests that 10,000 steps per day promotes healthy body composition, both inside and out. Our joints and tissues are nourished with movement and react to the stresses placed upon them. When we sit, the hamstring muscles in our legs get short and stiff. Later, our neck and back begins to hurt. Getting up and moving prevents the stiffening, and a higher step count would suggest adequate body movement and less frequent pain.

Daily step count is displayed on my running watch just below current time. It automatically resets at midnight and I wear my running watch 24/7 except when it’s recharging. The number is easily viewed so I look at it several times per day. I also keep track of my steps because some of my patients track their step count. This provides an opportunity for conversation and is another incentive for both of us to get up and move!