Still not a smoker


I two step while I cook and pirouette while I unload the dishwasher. Then I waltz with the broom—while I sweep up the dishes I broke two stepping and pirouetting.

I just love working in the kitchen! Not really. And I don’t know even how to pirouette. I’ve just become aware of how much I move since I heard the startling claim that “sitting is the new smoking.” I don’t believe it any more than I believe orange is the new black and 50 is the new 30. But health experts agree sitting too much does pose health risks, though it is cheaper than buying cigarettes.

I’ve never been a smoker, but I am a sitter. It just seems so dangerous to use my laptop while I ride my bicycle.

Lucky for me, I have a new fitness tracker, a sporty little doohickey I wear on my wrist and it has truly changed my behavior. If nothing else, I look at my wrist more than I used to.

My Fitbit insists I walk at least 10,000 steps a day which honestly isn’t hard for me. Heck, I racked up 2000 steps looking for my cellphone today. I never found it which means another easy 2000 tomorrow.

But just getting 10,000 steps isn’t enough for my new fancy Fitbit. Oh no. It tells me to move throughout the day so I can stay fit and get even less work done at my computer than I did before.

If I haven’t taken at least 250 steps in an hour, it buzzes me at 10 minutes ‘til. I startle easily, so that’s always good for a few steps. Then the words “Feed me” float across the screen. So I jump up and march straight to the kitchen. Kidding! It actually says, “Feed me steps,” which I think is a poor choice of words for a fitness device.

It wisely says nothing when I don’t get 250 steps. If it criticized me, I might fling it against the wall, and that could affect both its accuracy and its warranty.

And I do fail sometimes. I blame the Fitbit. Unlike my old tracker which I wore on my ankle, this one goes on my wrist and it doesn’t seem to count my steps unless I swing my arms while I walk. Other people have told me their trackers credit them with steps for everything from waving goodbye to blow drying their hair. Mine is more persnickety. Whenever I’m carrying anything, I have to do it on my right side so that my left arm can swing. I’m afraid I’m going to be lopsided someday.

The last time I was at the grocery store, I steered my cart with my right hand so that I could swing my arm as I walked. It seemed like a good idea until I knocked over a stack of cereal. And I didn’t even get step credit for picking it all up.

When I was a teenager, I worked as a server in a restaurant. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was to save steps. I never went to the kitchen without taking some dirty dishes back with me. It would have to be done eventually and my customers weren’t likely do it.

No more saving steps these days. Now I make two trips every time I go to the basement so I can get more steps. Also because I forgot why I went down there in the first place.

If I hit 250 by the end of the hour, my Fitbit congratulates me. “Strong stepping,” it says. Or “You crushed it.” That seems dramatic. I walked 250 steps in an hour. Some people run marathons. Still if sitting is the new smoking, for another hour at least, I can claim to be a nonsmoker.

(Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time. Contact [email protected])

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