One side effect of being on paternity leave is the lack of exercise. At the back end of September, I bought myself a Fitbit Charge, as a way of motivating myself to do just a little bit more exercise, and whilst at work I’ve been able to hit my 10,000 steps target most of the time. This is because I commute to work by train, and so that involves walking to and from the railway stations at each end of the journey. More than half of the total steps I take each weekday are through commuting.
So, take away the commute, and my step count plummeted. My daily average halved – whilst some days I could manage 6000-7000 steps, there were others when I wouldn’t need to leave the house. In fact, over the five and a half weeks that I was off work, I beat my step goal only four times. These were:
- Boxing Day – this was the day that Christine was induced, and I took myself out to get some lunch whilst she was on the hospital ward
- 22nd January – a trip in to work and an evening out
- 27th January – travelling down to London
- 28th January – travelling back from London
As it happens, between those last two days, I clocked up 35,000 steps, and the 27th was actually my most active day since September with over 20,000 steps. This was partly deliberate, as I had some time to kill in Leeds and so went for a walk.
Apart from my trip to London, I didn’t use public transport at all whilst off. Getting a baby in and out of a car is far easier than trying to manhandle a pram onto a bus or train, even if that would make me the ‘family man, manhandling the pram, with paternal pride‘ as per the Divine Comedy song. I’ve even driven to Leeds city centre a few times, which would probably shock the me of a year ago who wanted to drive but would still insist on using public transport where possible. It’s just easier when you have such a small person and all of their paraphernalia.
Now that I’m back at work, my step counts are returning to respectable levels. Since last Monday, I’ve only missed my target twice in eight days, and Saturday (where I had to work for a few hours) saw me overachieve by a few thousand steps. I’m hoping I can carry on meeting my targets from now on.