Wednesday, 12 March 2014

10,000 is a lot steps for one working day

Into the second week of Lent, taking it totally in my stride. Not a drop of alcohol, no meat, no sugar (other than that naturally occurring in fruit or unsweetened fruit juice), no fast food or salt snacks. And no temptation too. Sit-ups - 100 in the morning, 100 at night. Caffeine limited to one coffee in the morning - then only fruit infusions thereafter. Moderate amounts of coffee improve brain function and stave off dementia.

I'm eating lots of fish (tinned mackerel, smoked salmon mostly), bulghar wheat, lentils, chickpeas, salads with feta and anchovy, apples, bananas, natural yogurt, wholemeal bread, cheese - good stuff. And I've been introduced to a new burger bar - KroWarzywa on ul. Hoża (just off Marszałkowska). A nice play on words - Krowa żywa = live cow; Warzywa = vegetables. This place makes six different types of vegetarian burgers. I had the chickpea one with spicy tomato sauce and a huge salad in a wholemeal bun. Excellent - tasty, healthy and great value for 13.50 złotys (£2.65).

The sit-ups are going well because I started shortly after the New Year, building up to reach 100 in one go just ahead of Lent. It feels great to get to 90, then blast the final ten. And then there's walking...

My Tanita pedometer (John Lewis, £24.95) is an excellent instrument (although NoomWalk or other apps do much the same thing if you have a smartphone). Given the World Health Organisation, the National Health Service and the US Surgeon-General all suggest 10,000 paces as a recommended daily target, I've made this my Lenten target too. Over the first week of Lent, my daily average was 11,350 paces - around 8.4km.

My experience today will show just how much walking one needs to do to make your 10,000. This morning I walked from home to W-wa Jeziorki station (around 1,300 paces), from W-wa Śródmieście station to the office (around 400), to the India Curry restaurant on Żurawia for a vegetarian business lunch, and back, from the office to Centrum Metro station... and getting off at Wilanowska, I looked at my pedometer and it showed a measly 6,500 paces. So instead of boarding a bus, I walked to Al. Lotników, and caught a bus from there; travelled on one more stop beyond Karczunkowska to Dąbrówka and walked the long way home from there. Another look at the pedometer - still only 8,500 paces. So I passed the house, and kept on along ul. Trombity, round the corner on to Nawłocka to the end of the paved section - and back home. 10,070 recorded.

Now, if you are driving to work every day rather than walking to station to office to station to bus stop and home, it must be incredibly unlikely that you can squeeze in your recommended daily output of steps. The car has made us lazy and unfit.

This time last year:
Bary mleczne - Warsaw's cheap eateries

This time two years ago:
Nikkor 45mm f2.8 pancake lens reviewed

This time three years ago:
Old Town, another prospect

This time three years ago:
W-wa Śródmieście - commuters' staging post

This time five years ago:
Filthy ul. Poloneza
[five years on, there's finally prospect of change]

This time six years ago:
A sight that heralds the coming of spring


Alexander said...

I walk about 4 km every working day to and from the Railway station, but I am a bit worried about the wear and tear on the hips knees, and feet. I know a few people in their 70-ties with problems in that department.

Regards, Alexander

Liz said...

There are good Lenten reasons for looking after your body, but isn't the idea also to train in resisting temptation. You report "no temptation." Perhaps alcohol, meat and sugar are not tempting enough! Having said that, you will be incredibly fit. I walked for about 4 hours non-stop on Monday and had a salad for lunch and some oatcakes for supper. When I weighed myself on Tuesday I had put on weight. That does test one out a bit. The temptation to ditch the fitness regime (which is nothing like as demanding as yours) is now very real!

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Alexander

Wear and tear - the 10,000 paces recommended by the health authorities is optimal. I wouldn't push it much further. Question about the people in their 70s - were they active walkers when they were younger?

@ Liz

Lent is six and half weeks long, weight loss comes gradually. This year, I kicked off 'soft Lent' in the New Year - cut down on alcohol, stepped up exercise, reduced caffeine intake - so when Lent proper started, it was much easier.