my green vermont

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Every Step Counts

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

The pared-down new look of My Green Vermont comes from artist/graphic designer/herbalist/gardener/wise woman and friend, Dona Mara.  Check out her website:  When the makeover is complete and I have figured out the logistics, I will celebrate by giving away an original drawing for one of  the blog illustrations.  Stay tuned.

Now, for today\’s post:

I believe in the power of walking.  All I have to do is look at the women in my family, starting with my father\’s tiny mother who, dressed in black and in high heels, toddled all over the streets of Barcelona until she died in her nineties. Today my four aunts, now into their late 80s and 90s, are still striding down those same streets, on their daily rounds to the baker, the supermarket, and the concert hall.  My disabled 95-year-old mother, who nevertheless endures with perfect vitals, in her  mobile years clocked hundreds of miles inside her air-conditioned house in the sweltering American South.

Alas, where I live, the nearest market, cafe, bookstore and movie theater are all miles away.  It is theoretically possible for me to get along with no walking at all, so I have to make a point of integrating this most basic of human activities into my day.  

Ever since the Japanese propounded \”ten thousand steps a day\” as the key to immortality, I have loved pedometers.  Unfortunately, pedometers are designed to clip onto a belt, and right away if you are a woman there is a problem, because you don\’t always wear a belt. You can clip the pedometer to the waistband of your pants but, depending on the fit, it will count either too many or, more often, way too few steps.

When you wear a dress, you can clip the pedometer to a regular leather belt, worn under the dress and next to the skin, and grit your teeth at the discomfort.  Even worse, if you bend in certain ways the pedometer can slip off and fall to the floor, and never live to count another step.

Last week I decided to give my pedometer another chance.  But first I went online and bought a pedometer belt.  It is an elastic, adjustable belt with a flat snap buckle, and much more comfortable than the leather version.

Nevertheless, it is still accident-prone.  As I was sitting down to dinner at someone\’s house the other night the pedometer popped off the belt and landed on my lap.  There was nowhere to hide it, so I spread the napkin over my thighs, discreetly hiked up my tunic, and clipped it back on. I have since invented a simple thread loop which keeps the pedometer attached to the belt.

Now, I count every step.  I racked up 2,000 during a single phone conversation.  My yoga class, disappointingly, yielded only 100 steps–the pedometer was not impressed by all those down dogs and sleeping pigeons. I wear my pedometer every minute of the day, walking up and down as I brush my teeth before going to bed, when I check the count one last time.  In the morning, I snap the belt around my waist before even putting my feet on the floor.

It\’s been raining all day, and so far I\’m just over 2,000 steps.  A picture flashes in my mind of monks reading their breviary while walking around the cloister.  I have a Trollope novel on my Kindle.  Maybe I can get used to reading it while walking around the house.

8 Responses

  1. Try the fitbit – you can clip it to the inside of your bra. I have a doctor friend – 88 and still climbing mountains – who swears by climbing stairs to stay fit.

  2. I often think about doing this. I've gone walking with someone who has one and have been happy to hear the count at the end. And I pace constantly during almost any phone conversation.

  3. I have now been trying to get used to reading on my Kindle while walking around the house. I don't love it, but it does rack up steps. Of course, for certain personality types all this could have its dangers.

  4. Fitbit! Iam going to try that. I had a pedometer years ago and realized pretty fast that I was beating the heck out of that 10000 steps goal. So I stopped wearing it. 🙂

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