Pedometer War Strategy: Focus on Very Active Steps
Many 10,000 steppers focus on the extra steps during the day. They do things like park far away from stores, take extra trips to the water fountain or rest room at work. Whenever they can take two steps they try to take four. I feel this is a mistake for a Pedometer Warrior.
I've found if I maximize the very active minutes while minimizing the less active minutes, I can walk more steps in a day.
Fatigue a Function of Time
In the early 1900's pioneers of Scientific Management hypothesized they could determine needed rest breaks by monitoring the kilocalories of work done. The hypothesis was there would be some number that would indicate the need for a break across all types of work.
They found this hypothesis didn't work. Some sedentary activities, like writing, required breaks more often than some activities involving heavy labor.
With walking, I've observed fatigue is a function of time. It's easy to see why. A person slowly baby stepping may only average .8 miles per hour. It would take them an hour and twelve minutes to walk a mile. Meanwhile, it only takes about 17 minutes to walk a mile at 3.5 mph. The difference is 55 minutes.
A person who stands still for 55 minutes will experience more fatigue than a person who walks at an average pace for 17 minutes. Therefore, it pays to focus on the very active minutes. These are minutes spent walking at the walkers average pace.
Fitbit tracks the number of very active minutes, moderate minutes and light minutes. I found would take 5 or 6 hours to walk 10 miles. It would only take a person walking 3.5 mph about 2 hours and 50 minutes. That's a savings of two to three hours on the feet.
Prior to observing this, I my goal was 120 very active minutes a day. I increased the goal to 160 very active minutes a day. I discovered I was able to walk 12 miles a day with the same fatigue level I had at 10 miles a day.
If I don't pay attention to getting extra random steps, I get about 3 miles a day in random steps. This is about 6,000 steps. To get 19,000 more steps, I need to walk about 9 miles. I get these miles in the 160 very active minutes. I chill about the other 6,000 steps as I know they will come sometime during the day. This frees me for naps or other types of rest.
I'm finding the competition is having a positive effect on my walking. It's forcing me to find more efficient ways to get the distance.