By Scott Mowbray
June 27, 2013

The wristband that each of us on the is wearing is basically a fancy, diabolical pedometer that jacks into your smartphone and downloads your day’s exercise. The default goal is 10,000 steps a day, which, according to a , is about 5 miles.

As soon as I put the UP band on, I saw the scale of the problem. When I moved from Brooklyn to Birmingham, my daily walking average plummeted because I substituted a two-floor elevator ride to my car for a 20-block (round-trip) subway walk. In Brooklyn I used my car once a week; daily shopping trips were expeditions on foot. In the hot South, where I need a car to find a Starbucks or buy a loaf of bread, there just isn’t much walking going on.

On days when I wasn’t doing my standard 3-mile jog, I found myself logging a pathetic, walrus-like 2,000 steps (actually that would be a lot of steps for a walrus). When the UP band began talking to the other members of the , most of whom live in NYC and are exercisers on top of that, I was looking at folks who were logging 13,000 and even 24,000 steps!

The UP band was calling me a sloth. So I’ve taken to walking around the local public golf course some evenings after dinner—9,700 steps—or running halfway and back in the morning, and finishing at night with, say, 5,000 more: That gets me over 10,000. (Admittedly, all this footwork is a giant time-suck.)

It’s true that stepping out this much leads UP to “credit” my with an extra 250 calories of eating, but that’s not the motivation. Apps like UP demonstrate that I’m a puppy, a baby, a Boy Scout when it comes to feedback: Give me a reward, a virtual badge, and I’ll work harder. That’s the power of social media.

How do you stay motivated to keep moving? Comment here, email [email protected], and tweet or using .


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