Tracking your Step Counts: Findings

My work participated in an internal competition to track our step counts for 100 days. This was a great experiment to see how our step counts vary over time. From the chart above you can find the plot of three different metrics. My personal step count, my team’s step count and my organization’s step count.

The most interesting take away from this graph is that the step counts peak higher on weekends. This raises a few questions. Is there a difference in infrastructure that causes people to be more active on the weekend? Can infrastructure be built to encourage more activity on the weekdays?

Our 9 to 5 schedule is not encouraging higher activity. I personally bike 40 minutes to and from work and take the train the rest of the way which includes walking up and down skytrain stations and to and from work. Yet this is still lower than the weekend activity.

Something about the 9 to 5 way of life leads to lower activity. Maybe it’s that we are mentally drained or restricted. Is it the time limits that we have to get to work on time, and the need to get home after work for dinner. Is it also a locational factor of the way we situate offices and where we choose our homes, so that we opt for less active commuting modes?

There may be a subset of people that have the choice to increase the activity in their commutes. With this population it may be that we have to make it enticing for people to want to be more active. For example I have now switched up my commute on the way home to walk the last 20 minutes from the skytrain station instead of catching the bus. More people would bike home if they had AAA All Ages and Abilities networks to get anywhere they wanted to go. This includes making the “20 minute last mile walkshed” around enjoyable with wide sidewalks and interesting and inviting built form.

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