Wednesday 23 March 2016

One Step at a Time

Spending two hours every day driving my daughter to a new school prompted me to buy a pedometer to check how active I am.

The NHS challenges us to walk 10,000 steps every day to improve our cardio-vascular health, build stamina and burn calories.  So I thought I'd see how me and my family measure up to this...

I bought pedometers for my daughters (aged 8 and 14).  And my husband has a Fitbit already - which counts driving a car as climbing stairs!   Luckily that can be rectified with the Fitbit.   

Meanwhile, in a mildly scientific way, I decided to experiment and compare our steps over an average week.  Not a Step-Off style competition as such, just a step count.

I waited a while as our 8 year old began by spending all her lunch and playtimes at school running around to maximise her steps.  After a couple of weeks she forgot to and her steps (I think) became more normal...

Interestingly, on a rainy day, she took hardly any steps.   We still walked to school in the rain but at school she stayed in one room pretty much the whole day - so not many steps.

Pedometers at the ready!
And for Laurie, my 14 year old, I imagined not many steps during a school day.  But with six lessons in a day, she notched up some impressive numbers just walking between classrooms and to and from her locker (as well as lots of steps in PE lessons twice a week).  And then being dropped around the corner from school really added up the steps too (plus allowed me not to be an embarrassment)...

And for my husband, a pretty decent step count for someone with a long train commute and a desk job at the end of it.

Our step count between 14th and 20th March 2016
So, here's how we did last week in steps.  Our overall winner was Alice with an impressive 67,513 steps over the whole week (not that it's a competition!)   Running for Sport Relief on Friday definitely helped boost her steps.    And large amounts of school homework took it's toll on Laurie's weekend steps.

So having done our experiment, we're certainly not feeling smug as a family - but now we're more aware of how much we move. 

Knowing that rainy school days can be tough on active kids, I think they would love St Ninians, the Scottish Primary School which has pioneered the Daily Mile  where children go out and run for a maximum of 15 minutes everyday in any weather.   The reported benefits for the kids are better focus, more confidence plus they're eating and sleeping better.   

And on weekends, for the whole family, if you don't leave the house and go out and walk somewhere, it's much harder to get to 10,000 steps in!

Have a happy and active Easter!


  1. Well done Hunt family -and particularly Alice. The school Daily Mile is an excellent idea and I believe the Head was given an award-though schools throughout the country have long been promoting similar activities first thing in the morning- recognising the affect on mental as well as physical health. I have a pedometer ap on my phone. I must admit to smugness when I do a weekly walk between the villages but I can't believe there are many that achieve 10,000 steps daily.

  2. Thanks for your comment Jean, and your weekly walk sounds great!
    I wonder if in the future more schools will go this way and if and when all children have wearable tech - perhaps schools will set them physical activity challenges (as homework) over the weekends...
    Might help teenagers with high stress levels right now.

  3. Thanks Caroline.
    What an interesting topic! As a grandmother I am more and more conscious of the value of walking now that I have been forced - for medical reasons - to give up star jumps and the plank!My pedometer helps me to stay motivated and make progress.

    1. Thanks very much for your comment. We're designed to move around and to walk. So a brisk walk outdoors has to be a winning way to work out and to feel good!