Our obsession with pedometers: A step too far?

Our obsession with pedometers: A step too far?

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"So when are you going to get one Rachel?"

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The bright purple wristband is waved in my face with enthusiasm and all I can do is shrug.

That was my friend who was wearing it. She was completely excited about wearing her new pedometer that does everything for her apart from make the tea or perform her sexual duties.

“So you don’t ever take it off?” I enquired. It made me wonder whether she actually would wear it during sex but I couldn’t bring myself to ask her that.

“No! You wear it all the time. It tracks your sleep, how many hours you’ve slept, how restless you were, how many times you woke up, everything!”

I looked at her excited face and just looked baffled.

“But surely you don’t need an expensive rubber thing on your wrist to tell you that? I know if I’ve had a good night or not without that strapped to me.”

“But it tells you how many calories you’ve eaten!”

“I know that as well, and to be honest I’d rather forget about it!”

She looks at me as if I’m daft and I begin to think I’m not normal for not wanting the skinny wrist gadget.

Please forgive me if you do have one of these and it’s changed your life for the better. If something like this promotes health and fitness for people then that’s a great thing, I really do believe that. I just worry that some people are getting too obsessed with these kinds of fitness devices, especially if you are prone to being a bit obsessive with your health and weight.

I think there is a delicate balance between using these devices sensibly and using them to become too addicted, which in time could maybe trigger a serious eating disorder or OCD. Most people I know go to the gym and jog every day, which I think is too much. Three times a week is the ideal amount recommended by health professionals, but most people I know do far more than that and then they feel terrible if they miss a day.

The fact that you can, ‘Track Your Day’, and ‘Count Every Single Step’ that you’ve made and it shows you the fat and calories burned, seems too much for me. I’d rather enjoy a walk in the park rather than staring in a panic at my wrist as it monitors my every step and if I’m progressing closer to my targets. I like to be able to treat myself to an ice cream or a bag or chips rather than worrying about logging the numbers and the maths like some NASA scientist.

The device encourages you to log your food intake, your workouts and more. Not that I would do workouts of course as in plural. It seems to be designed to make you feel as if you’ve failed if you don’t meet your goals. And that’s only during the day. You don’t even get a break from it at night.

To me, the goals and targets sound like something from a regular, boring day job. Everyone these days has stressful targets at work; I don’t think we need them at home as well. The device ensures that you can automatically sync wirelessly to your smartphones & computer so you don’t miss out on a minute of the target monitoring. This also allows you to share and compete with your friends.

To me that’s crazy. I have no desire to compete with my friends as to who can lose the most weight or walk the most steps in a day. What does it matter? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting each other if a group of friends want to be healthier together, I just don’t think the competitive element or the bitchiness needs to be there. You can motivate and support each other by having fun with diet and regular exercise instead. I’d definitely support them all and then, knowing me, I would suggest we have a glass of wine and cake at the weekend with the pedometers off!

So after careful consideration I informed my friend that no, I’m still not sold on getting a pedometer and that I’m happier without one. She still looked at me like I was completely crazy.

On second thoughts, it might be fun to wear one during sex, just once. I am quite intrigued to know exactly how many calories that burns. Now I think that’s a fun workout worth doing.

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