Saved by the bell curve

Posted by admin on June 4th, 2011 filed in Healthy-ish

We’re in week two of the GCC walking challenge. My muscles don’t ache too much, so that part went OK (slowly increasing pre-training helped). But no positive effects to report, yet, either. :-P

It’s a bit early for results, but still. All the extra walking simply makes me tired — and not in the way that improves sleeping and makes one wake up with a clear head. Basically, I need extra time every day for the extra walking, and afterwards I’m too tired to do anything else. (You know, crazy extravagant stuff like… laundry or… hobbies!) This part of the deal is a bit frustrating. :-/

On the other hand, I’m keeping up the average that I planned to reach (above the recomended 10000 steps a day). Our team manages to stay in the company top 10 — It’s not a contest for a number 1 spot. We all know that the GCCs is not handing out prizes to “one winner” with the highest step count or anything. The purpose is to get into the habit of walking 10000+ steps a day.

If your way to work involves some walking (say, to the underground station and back), if you take every opportunity to walk around at the office (to the printer, to fetch a snack), if you take every opportunity to walk the stairs, and if you daily go on 1h-2h walks (people with dogs or little children have an advantage here) — then 10000+ steps are attainable. My team members come by bike, and they easily get even more “points”.

Considering this, the challenge is working out great: We get good results, and my team is objectively successful. Still, our first enthusiasm was curbed after the second week. We are doing great, and we look at the overall statistics, and we’re “somewhere in the middle”, at best. Huh? Turns out the teams ahead of us have 25000-35000 “steps” a day… This is possible because it is legal to convert biking and swimming kilometers to steps; And if team members go jogging everyday, or have access to a fitness studio at work: All that is worth a LOT of points, but not everybody’s cup of tea.

If you work 8h a day at a desk, you can’t reach 35000 by walking… That would mean 9h sleeping etc, 9h working etc, and the rest you’d have to spend walking. So, suddenly (since the rules count other healthy sports too), we are comparing apples and oranges. My team is doing great for office workers who go for a walk after work and who bike to work if the weather (and insane traffic and the lack of bicycle trails) permits. The top-rated teams are doing great for athletes training for marathons and who pay €40/month for a fitness center. You don’t want to exclude these highly motivated people, but on the other hand, their high results distort the scale for the ones who need to see their “small successes” to be motivated keep up.

I was talking to a colleague who was similarly frustrated: He is the tallest on our floor, he can walk for hours and gets only half as many points as some of our “teetering” female colleagues. We both agreed that the GCC’s scoring system needs fixing: Everyone outside the bell curve gets booted. :-P Since that is not likely to happen, we had to apply the patch manually. *frantically covers up little dots representing L4m3 ch34t0rz on the screen* Aaaahh, better. :-D

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