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Few more steps

Activity Tracker is an extremely useful aid for anyone serious about the health routines. I wear my tracker on the wrist and find that, in the last few months, it has become more dominating than my wife! It tells me how long I sleep in the 24 hour cycle and, while in the bed, how many times I was restless and tossed around and how long I slept peacefully. And, while I am awake, the tracker also tells me how long I was sitting idle monitoring my bouts of activity and laziness. Needless to say the tracker tells me how many steps I have walked during the 24 hour cycle as well as the distance conquered and calories burnt in the process. The entire system is so well rounded that the tracker has now become a constant appendage on my wrist except during the shower time.

I am told that walking, as a cardio activity, is an excellent support to weight training and ensures that the body fat is utilised in the process. Learned people advise me that the ideal target is to achieve 10000 steps every day in the 24 hour cycle. This target might be easy or difficult depending on the individual’s life and work style and general habits. As a person with the laptop as the master, I cannot avoid spending long hours at the work desk. It is not that I do not try to break the routine and my attempts at moving away from the work desk do take me as far away as to dump me in front of the idiot box!!

However, that type of break in the work routine does not amuse my tracker as I am only moving from one style of inactivity to another! My regular and disciplined three hours in a week in weight training do provide some comfort but no way appease the demanding tracker which calls for consistent and continuous energy expenditure by the body.

So I decided to take on the challenge and tame the mistress.

After the first two weeks, 10000 steps appeared on the radar and I felt confident I can hit the target. However, that was more easily said than done. I had to be innovative to find ways and means of adding some more steps to the count in whatever I did. The methods were funny and childlike but kept the count moving.

So every time I sat at the table to eat, I made several trips to the kitchen to fetch each item separately. Not that they could not be carried at one go but the purpose was to gain ten more steps on every attempt. Thus one trip got me the water while the next got me the glass! The spoon and fork were carried in separately though, as the only person at home, I needed only one piece of each. The two adjacent switches, one for the light and the other for the fan, were each dealt with in the same dedicated manner with total and undivided attention to each on a separate trip! I made multiple trips to Mustafa once to get apples and a second time to get the grapes each just a Kg.! The manager in me screams “utter inefficiency” but I ignore them.

All such machinations at last got me close to the 10000 mark!

But having been tricked into keeping my ass on the move, the 10000 mark quickly ceased to excite! I raised the bar to 12000 then to 15000 steps and placed a marker at 19000 last week. The target was daunting but achieving about 13 Kms every day over about 120 minutes and burning 3000+ calories was heady.

Now I needed new manoeuvres to reach there. I stopped taking the short cut to the restaurant (just three minutes from home) which I visited at least twice a day. And added a further rigour to the process by not only not directly entering the condo gate but going around it in a full circle taking about 8 minutes and scoring 800 steps on every cycle. Depending on the ambient weather and the time of the day, I tried to repeat the rotation several times and once managed to do 8 rounds at a stretch!

The first week after setting the target at 19K saw me recording an average of 22k over the seven days with the peak at 23K. This tough target ensured that every commercial break in the TV serial got a wholehearted welcome and I could clock 300-500 steps in that interval. Walking was soon becoming a crazy nay fanatic obsession!

The second week somehow did not see the same results. Demands of the work desk were more intense and I found it difficult to move away from the laptop. The scores were erratic and a 20K on the first day was followed by a 12 K the next day. Third day saw a 19k to be beaten to 16k on the fourth day! Thursday got me an 18 k and I was generally dispirited. I looked forward to seeing a movie in the late evening show of Friday and was generally lazy during the day.

The show was to start at 21.45 hours and I had reached there at 21.00 hrs. The tracker showed a number just over 14000. I could hear an inner voice telling me “go man.. Why not try and clear the balance 5000?” The voice was persistent and could not be ignored. Can I score 5000 steps in the balance about 40 minutes? I dismissed the doubts and started walking inside the mall which also housed the theatre. So I walked along from one end to another of the shopping area and moved on to the next floor losing the count only when I was on the escalator (the stairs were not to be seen!).

It was 21.38 and I had hit 16800 when I decided to walk into the theatre before the lights went off. The movie was to run for over 2 hours and I had given up the hopes of hitting 19000 for that day. And, when it did get over and I landed on the street, the time was 23.40 and the tracker showed 17000. Walking back home would get me 700 steps and I firmly gave up the goal for the day.

As I reached the condo lobby I still had about 13 minutes to mid night and 17700 on the wrist. The car park was deserted as was to be expected at mid night and the emptiness suddenly caused a stir... why not go for it on the balance 13 minutes? The doubting Tom in me grumbled “you don’t exert yourself walking just before going to bed ... you will not be able to sleep...” I doused the doubt and started pacing up the length of the car park in a desperate attempt to hit 19000! Should I run? I decided against it so as not to provoke the security team who must have been watching me with suspicion on their screens.

After two round trips, I had to clear another 450 steps with three minutes to go. I almost ran again. I was gasping and the pulse rate was fairly rising and I was sweating profusely and had no time to clear off the sweat .Nothing would stop me. It was a do or die situation at 23.58 hrs!!

I completed another round trip and looked at the tracker. It showed 218!!

I staggered for a moment not knowing what had gone wrong. The sense of dejection was overwhelming! I then realised that the clock had moved past midnight and the tracker had reset itself at 0 when it hit 12 hrs. I also knew I had not hit the 19000 mark as the vibrating alarm on the tracker had been dead silent!

As I limbered back home I was flooded with a variety of emotions. The realisation that I had lost the target by just two minutes was shuddering. Soon followed the self- incrimination process. How much time had I wasted during the day in laziness when I could have kept the score moving? Why did I go into the theatre seven minutes before the start time? The nagging questions kept coming at me throughout the sleeping time and troubled me.

The morning came with an even more stunning insight. How many times have I lost the target in life because I had not kept consistent pace and effort and on how many occasions have I lost because I gave up just before the goal post?

That introspection has done wonders to my psyche and the tracker now pushes me not only into more steps but also when Mr. Complacence generally tries to creep in!!


22 aug 2016

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About The Author

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Ganesh - R

Corporate/Business/Professional

SINGAPORE

A corporate manager for over 40  years with an all round exposure. Have had the good fortune of great bosses who unfailingly took the risk of trying me out with  new functional responsibilities  that I was neither qualified to handle nor had any prior exposure. This served as an excellent opportunity for learning and  the exciting process continues even as I am ready to retire! 

 Have bid adieu to formal learning process long ago but the quest  continues.

"Human beings" interest me the most .. the curiosity at observing and learning from fellow beings appears to be a key  driver at this stage of life. Would like to spend the rest of the days in making a difference to them.

Other interests include gymming, music, etc..  

Blogging seems to be a god sent opportunity to laugh at oneself freely and without any pretensions. It also provides an excellent route to introspection albeit a bit loudly!


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