Last night on the bus ride up to the DMZ I read an awesome article in the September 1 issue of the New Yorker. Adam Gopnik’s “Heaven’s Gaits” was quite informative, intriguing and well written. Everything you might already expect from a New Yorker article, but I found this one in particular to be beyond exceptional.
The article begins by pondering the question of why people walk.
In the famous diagram, Darwinian man unfolds himself from frightened crouch to strong surveyor of the ages, and it looks like a natural ascensio: you start out bending over, knuckles dragging, timidly scouring the ground for grubs, then you slowly straighten up until there you are, staring at the skies and counting the stars and thinking up gods to rule them.
Adam then explores Matthew Algeo’s work in “Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport” which tells a fascinating story about competitive walking which I never knew ever existed in the first place. The article is worth reading just to learn about this fascinating piece of history alone.
He also talks about the Frédéric Gros book, A Philosphy of Walking, which explores the three different types of walkers (contemplative, cynical and contemplative-cynic). Another interesting examination that I couldn’t do justice to by trying to summarize, just read the article!
I absolutely loved reading this article and recommend it to anyone and everyone. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines from the article.
There’s no point in walking if you’re not getting ahead, even if the track you’re walking on turns out to be a perfect oval, taking you home.
One of my favorite apps on my Samsung Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s S Health app. It has driven me to become more active and to be more aware of my daily physical activity and general health. It can track your heartrate, daily walking, running, biking, food intake and more through add on apps you can download.
My favorite feature is the pedometer. It challenges you to take at least 10,000 steps a day in order to meet the widely recommended amount of weekly physical activity. I’ve found that during a night of work I tend to rack up between 5,000 and 6,500 steps on average and I’ve since challenged myself to add an additional 3,000-4,000 steps to my daily routine by going on walks before work, and walking to the store rather than driving. The pedometer made it easy for me to challenge myself to walk more and challenge myself to reach a higher and higher step count every day.
I love being able to glance at the widget on my home screen to get a quick look at my daily progress.
I’ve also been using the run tracker within S Health, and it’s functional but I still prefer the Nike + app for running. The diet tracker makes it easy to track what you eat in a day and it’ll help you to hold yourself more accountable for what you eat. Once you see exactly how that snack will affect your calorie total you’ll probably be more likely to swap it for something healthier like a fruit.
S Health will challenge you to increase your daily activity in order to meet whatever goals you, or the app, set for you. The app is a simple way to become more active and hold yourself accountable for your health.