Take a hike—or at least a neighborhood stroll


Last week, the American Diabetes Association proclaimed May 6 “Get Fit, Don’t Sit’' Day.

You’ve heard the reports over the past few months: working at our desks, playing on computers, watching the tube, etc., is making us unhealthy. A study published in January links sedentary lifestyles to a 91% increase in Type 2 diabetes.

Coincidentally, a few days prior I had bought a pedometer—the old school kind that clips to your belt and, at $15, doesn’t break the bank. Michelle the dietician has been after to me to move more, after a long, lazy winter.

As an aside, the teenage store clerk had to ask me what a pedometer was, but as someone who also uses a glucometer and a phone app to track blood sugars and insulin—and, for the next few weeks, a paper food log for carbs and calories—I only wanted to track steps. Just steps, not calories burned, not sleep cycles, just steps.

It turns out getting to the minimum recommended 10,000 steps per day is darn hard. All that talk about getting up to speak to a coworker or parking far from the building? It’s all bull. You really gotta take a walk. Or three.

Which is what I’ve been doing. The great thing about walking is you see things you don’t see when you drive. On a walk the other evening in my Portland neighborhood, I saw my old co-worker, Elaine, who honked and waved as I waited to cross a busy intersection. I also discovered a little free library, fussed over by a young girl, in the Deering Highlands neighborhood. (Trust me, the highlands are aptly named). Another night, I walked in the opposite direction of the corner store, and took the long way around the block. Through an open door, I spied a gracious staircase in one lovely old home and learned that the owners of JPs Bistro were on vacation that week. Of course, I negated those extra steps with the bottle of wine I picked up at the corner. I can almost hear Michelle sighing.

Walking here in Yarmouth, I discovered that the quaint yellow house at the bottom of the hill has chickens, or at least one large hen. I’ve been driving by for 10 years.

This also got a bunch of us talking about…walking. Editor Liz counted the steps from her car to her desk (90), and I counted the steps in a loop around the building (480). Associate editor Tracy has a Fitbit, and I know she gets out for a walk every day.

Our co-worker, Jo-Ellen, who had the day off yesterday, decided to track her steps that day. She emailed to say she had taken 8,307 steps.

Gotta run. I’m only at 1,379 steps so far today.

Theresa Flaherty