Life with Ladybug: Walk this way

By Shannon Magsam

Ten thousand steps.

That’s the number of steps you should take every day to be really healthy, according to fit friends’ comments and the booklet that came with my new fancy pedometer. Make it 12,000 if you’re trying to lose weight.

Ever since I unwrapped the tiny device for my birthday, I’ve been a woman obsessed. If I’m short my 10,000 steps in the evening, I get a little nuts.

My sister called last night:

“Hello.” Me

“Hi! What’s up?” Her

Oh, just watching Netflix with John.” Me

“You sound like you’re exercising.” Her

“Well, I’m watching TV WHILE I’m stepping in place.” Me

Then I talked her ear off about pedometers like the recent convert I am. Talking, that is, while rapidly walking from room to room.

My husband bought me the pedometer (he bought other gifts for my birthday, too, so no worries that he’s in the dog house) because we both recently read A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy. A.J. is Esquire’s editor-at-large and an author who really knows how to give it his all when researching and writing a book. For two years, he subjected himself to “a grueling but entertaining regimen of exercise, diets and experiments” and then reported his findings. Really entertaining — and enlightening — stuff.

Well, A.J. bought all kinds of health equipment, but found himself using one of the least expensive — the humble pedometer.

I expressed interest in trying one out sometime and John remembered. I’m not sure he expected me to become attached so quickly. I mean, really attached.

I have a friend who wears her pedometer on her bra strap (it’s recommended that you wear it close to your body for the device to effectively measure your steps). I’ve opted for clipping mine on my right hip, the one my daughter once rode relentlessly. Imagine if I’d had the pedometer when she was a baby. All that rocking and swaying? No telling how many steps that sucker would have registered when I was a young(ish) mama. (Nowadays I sit way too much in front of my computer. A no-no, according to A.J.‘s research)

My birthday pedometer also measures the calories I’m burning, the miles all those steps add up to, the actual time and probably lots more if only I’d read the instructions.

I was a little surprised by how FEW calories I was burning in a day. I have to say that wearing the pedometer has actually made me more conscious of how much – and what – I put into my mouth.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take the dog for a walk. According to my hip, I’m a few steps shy.

Shannon Magsam is mom to 10-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-founder of To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.