Reason 182

#182: All the steps

Since I discovered that my phone automatically tracks how many steps I take in a day, I have become mildly (ok, a lot) obsessed with counting steps. I first discovered this feature of the phone around November and used it extensively during a holiday trip with my family. I announced at mid-day how many steps we had taken that day, which served to provide justification for everyone to be tired. At the time I thought that the goal was to get to 5,000 steps in a day. Since then I have learned that the goal (based in pseudo-science) is actually 10,000 steps per day.


This is how my steps work out on a normal day:

AM: 2500 steps from my apartment to my university. I used to measure this in songs (about 5 songs) or podcasts (most of a Freakonomics episode) but I like knowing about the steps.

PM: Same 2500 steps but in the opposite direction.

That’s the base. To that I add the following:

500ish steps from my office to somewhere in Foggy Bottom to buy lunch or get a fork (on the days that I bring my own lunch but forget cutlery.)

1500ish steps walking around Dupont Circle talking to my mom/grandmother/best friend because I am unable to talk to people on the phone while I sit down.

2000ish steps of procrastination walking: going to the library to check out a book, to the lab to print a paper I “want to read”, to my friends’ offices to say hi, to get the mail, to do laundry, to check on the laundry, to check on the laundry again, to get the laundry, to go back to the get laundry basket I forgot and so on.

On days that people visit from out of town I substitute the GW-related steps for the following:

250ish steps from my apartment to Dupont Circle. This is partly to show off the circle, partly to gauge my visitor’s tolerance for walking.

2500 steps to the White House.

3000 steps to the Mall.

500,000 steps walking all over DC as I attempt to convince my visitor that really walking is better than the metro/bus/Uber because they’ll get to experience the city better and really we’re “like 5 blocks away.”



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