Will Climb Stairs for Cardio

I have two basic challenges when it comes to losing weight – drinking enough water, and getting exercise in. It isn’t so much that I can’t get my hands on water, I just usually don’t drink enough of it. And when it comes to exercise, these days I can’t claim I don’t have time to do it – it’s more a logistical challenge than anything. Water I can conquer, but exercise …

For Christmas, my lovely husband gave me a Fitbit One. I had asked for it, and he gave it to me, but I think he expected it to be largely unused. I am happy to say that I have used it every single day, though twice I’ve forgotten to put it back on after taking a shower (both times, I went without it for a couple of hours before I noticed it missing), and once the battery died on me so I had to take it off mid-day to charge it for an hour. Other than that, I’ve worn it all over the house, all over town, to work and even at night (it tracks sleep as well as activity). I decided when I got it that I wanted to see just how active I am in a typical day, so I didn’t try to do anything “extra” from Christmas until now. that gave me a little more than two weeks in which I could identify activity patterns, and let me tell you … it’s an eye-opener.

A lot of people here believe that many people who set their activity levels to sedentary are probably underestimating how much movement they get in a typical day. I’m not one of those people – not one who thinks people underestimate their activity, nor one who actually does that. Much to the contrary, the Fitbit has shown me that I AM sedentary – which isn’t a surprise to me. I have a very stressful job as a desk jockey, and it often doesn’t allow for me to take long periods of time away to be more active. During an average weekday, I spend 19 hours being sedentary. NINETEEN HOURS. That is a LOT of time to sit on one’s ass. The rest of the day, I’m either “fairly active” or “lightly active”. Rare is the day I hit the “very active” level. And while the weekends are more active for me, where I spend an average of 7 hours as lightly or fairly active, that still means I’m spending 9 hours as sedentary. Now the reason for that is that many of my hobbies – quilting, sewing, reading, and processing photos in a digital darkroom – are also done while sitting down. But I have realized this is neither good for me, or helpful to my weight loss efforts, so I have decided to “step up” my activity levels.

But how? I don’t have a gym membership and while I could probably afford one, I don’t really want to join right now – new year joiners and all that. The weather is terrible – thunderstorms and such the last couple of days, so walking outside is out. So today, I woke up and decided that I wanted to go for the next step badge the Fitbit offers – 25 floors. I don’t always work in my office, some days I work at home. But today, I am in the office, and I decided that once an hour I would get up and go downstairs and walk back up at least three flights (there are five in this part of the building) then come back to my desk. This will give me a chance to get away from my desk at least once an hour, I will get in my cardio, and it makes sure I move fairly often.

I have 2 hours and 45 minutes left in my work day and I am currently at 16 floors done. I am totally psyched about this, because I thought I would crap out about halfway through the day, honestly. But I didn’t – I’ve kept going. I missed the 9 am hour, but walked twice in the 10 am hour, about 30 minutes apart. And when I went downstairs to grab a bottle of water, I came back up and did all five floors. For me, that’s a pretty big deal. I have knee problems, but it makes going down much worse than coming back up, and I have decided I won’t let that hold me back. I’ve got three more hours in which to walk up the stairs at work, and I’m hoping that gets me to 25, but if it doesn’t, I live in a two story house, so I can get the rest of them at home. I can do this, and I realized that I can do it daily.

Is my solution perfect? Probably not. But it’s working for me right now, and I can always add more stairs. I plan to add weights as well, because I love working out with weights (I’m not a newbie to exercise, just very out of practice), but today’s workout is cardio, and I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂

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