Wasting Steps

In our busy lives, saving time-and precious energy-is an important value. Saving steps is a method we often use to preserve our energy, exert less effort, and combine tasks to promote efficiency. But an equally, and perhaps even more, important value than efficiency is promoting good health. As a diabetic, I know that one way I can do this is by using my body to get at least a minimum of exercise each day.

Experts tell us we should be taking at least 10,000 steps each day. At an average step length of 30 inches, this would total just under five miles (4.73 miles, to be exact). But in our increasingly sedentary lives, walking nearly five miles every day can be difficult unless we build in extra activity above and beyond our normal routines.

And thus is born a new principle, one that seemingly flies in the face of the efficiency-based “saving steps” philosophy. That new principle, appropriately enough, is “wasting steps.” That’s right: In order to accumulate enough steps to reach our daily five-mile objective, we need to discover, and uncover, ways to take more steps than we normally would.

How can we do this? It’s simple. Stop trying to save steps as we go about our normal, everyday activities. Look for ways to waste steps instead. If two tasks can be combined into an efficient single trip, break them into a health-promoting two trips. Need to carry a load of groceries in from the car? Use the opportunity to take several trips from the garage to the kitchen, at the same time saving yourself the burden of balancing too many bags at once. Have a stack of things to carry from one end of the house to another? Waste a few more steps by making two, three, or more trips.

Sure, this step-wasting approach flies in the face of all we’ve practiced as a means of saving time and effort. But wasting steps is a relatively painless way to get in the basic body exercise that’s so important to our health and overall well-being. So stop saving steps and start wasting them. After all, aren’t you worth it?

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