This week I wrote a post for the Easter Seals blog reporting my progress using a talking pedometer for their “Walk the Extra Mile” challenge. In that post I quoted from a post on the New York Times Well blog that said one mile of walking covers about 2,000 steps, and Americans, on average, take 5,117 steps a day. After reading those statistics, I knew Whitney and I were well on our way to prove my theory: blind people who use guide dogs — especially those of us who live in big cities — really do walk more than the average person does.
In a previous post I’d written for the Easter Seals blog about this challenge thing at work, I explained that when you live in a city you can’t simply open a sliding glass patio door to let your guide dog out. When Whitney needs to “empty,” I take her down the street, around the corner and to her favorite tree. That’s 1,000 steps per trip, and that trip takes place at least four times a day. The first two weeks of our experiment included one week of 100-degree temperatures in Chicago. We stayed inside with our air conditioner on more than usual, but hey, a girls gotta go. Even in that hot weather Whitney and I averaged 9,871 steps a day. My steps per day increased when temperatures cooled down the next week.
Just when I’d started planning which new equipment Whitney and I would try out when we won the Go The Extra Mile challenge grand prize (a free six-month fitness club membership), I pressed the button to hear the number of steps I’d taken so far that day, and … nothing. My talking pedometer stopped talking. I shook the thing and pressed the button. Nothing. I turned it upside-down and rightside-up again. Nothing. I stuck it in a bag of rice for a day. Nothing.
And so, what happened with the challenge? Well, human resources offered to buy me a new talking pedometer, but I told them not to bother. I have a new theory now: blind people who use guide dogs — especially those of us who live in big cities — walk so many steps that a talking pedometer can’t keep up with us.