20 June 2009

Step on...

You're twistin' my melons man...

And bruising my plums....

Another Saturday morning means another trip to Tesco with its incumbent undead, but this morning I have all the more reason to stay out of their way, and as Jay from 5ive would say, 'just keep on moving'.

For now all my movements are tracked by a little device clipped to my trousers, and it is very much a case of, you snooze, you lose.

Last week I purchased a little widgety game thing for the Nintendo DS called 'Walk with me'.

I say game, but it's not really. It's a little pedometer that counts how many steps you make during the day.

The little key fob sized dongle has a nifty little accelerometer inside it, so every step from the moment you get dressed in the morning until you put everything on the floordrobe for the night is duly logged.

The clever bit is, it will only log them if you make 10 in a row, ie you're properly walking.

So if you're sat down watching tv and roll over to let out a fart or scratch you're arse - nil points.

At the end of the day, you bank all these steps by pointing the dongle at the DS, which then tells you exactly what you've been up to.

It's displayed minute by minute, in little blue bars. If you manage to walk more than 10 minutes of continuous walking, it's classed as 'Active Walking', and the little bars are red. Little red bars are better than little blue ones, as they gain you more points for some of the mini-games that can also be played on the DS.

You can set a target that you have to reach every day, and your dongle flashes red until you reach that target, at which point it turns green.

Suffice to say, that is not a screenshot of me - you can import your avatar from your Wii, or make one up on the DS.

It may puzzle some of you as to why on earth I should even care how much I walk, but as of late I have taken to walking into work everyday, where upon I sit on my arse for the rest of the day.

Since starting regular walking, I appear to inadvertently gone down a couple of holes on my belt, which can only be a good thing, so I thought it might be useful to know how much I'm doing, and how I can sustain it if I'm not at work.

Mrsslippy on the other hand drives to work and back, and is then mostly on her feet. So who does more? Early research based on distance of known trips (I plotted my route around Manchester looking for drugs on Google Earth) suggests that even if I walk the (over an hour) round trip, Mrsslippy still walks further in a day.

And yesterday, even though I spent over an hour in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, it didn't count a single step of it, as it was constant start/stopping in the much less that 10 steps at a time from oven to sink to worktop...

So today I decided I would have to get off to a flying start. My ear is much better, so with a target of 7,000 steps, I headed off to Tesco, on foot, and taking a very circuitous detour to ensure a good 30 mins of active walking before I arrived.

The problem then was, the usual blocked aisles and dawdling duffers that threatened to make my step count so sporadic that I would not be able to get 10 in a row, and 20 minutes of aisle trawling would count for nothing.

So I was forced to hurtle up and down, doubling back on myself whenever one of the grey ghosts approached me in the other direction like some kind of deranged Pac-Man collecting fruit rather than power pills.

Even so, I was pleased to note that as I arrived home, the little flashing LED on the dongle had changed from red to green. Mrsslippy has yet to move any further than from bedroom to living room, so unless she pulls off some major movement later, today will be WIN for me.

Tomorrow might be a bit harder. Mrsslippy is working a long day, and I....well clearly, I won't be. I will be mostly eating a bacon sandwich at around 10am, and then depending on the weather, either watching the cricket on TV, or listening on a radio in the garden.

I'm wondering if I'd be able to get away with attaching the dongle to my wrist. With Mrsslippy out for 12 hours, just imagine how many 'steps' I'd be able to pack into the day.

Because I'll also be catching up on emails from being away from work all week, and I'm sure typing will set the thing off.

What on earth were you thinking I meant?

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