We all need a break now and again, time to recharge the batteries, relax and enjoy the better things in life. This alone is certainly Good For You.
I was in need of a break and being able to get a week off from work during May I booked myself a few days in Rome. I could have gone pretty well anywhere really. I would like to explore Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Berlin or any other number of places that I’ve not yet had the pleasure to visit. However I chose Rome for the very reason that I had already visited twice before and I felt that I would be under less pressure to zoom around the place looking at “must see” things. Plus I do simply love Rome – the history, the buildings, the art.
Late last year I bought myself a FitBit One fitness tracker. It’s an advanced pedometer which keeps track of how active I’ve been every day. I decided to take it to Rome with me as I was sure that I would spend quite a bit of time walking and I thought it would be interesting to keep track of this.
Shown below is the FitBit log for the week before I went to Rome, just Monday to Friday (as these were to be the days I would spend in Rome the following week, for comparison). So this shows an average kind of week sat behind a desk in the office doing IT Support. If you need the image a little larger to see the figures more clearly then please click on it.
These statistics are dreadful. Only 3,731 steps taken on the Friday, not even 2 miles covered on foot. This picture does improve when I walk my commute, but I’m finding it hard to get back into that.
Now let’s see the following week when I was on holiday, resting and relaxing in Rome.
I’ll give you a quick summary of what I was doing on each day.
- Monday : Flew out to Rome. Walked from Termini railway station to my hotel which was just around the corner to Crypta Balbi. Went for a stroll through the streets to and around the Pantheon.
- Tuesday : Visited the Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum.
- Wednesday : Visited the Capitoline Museum.
- Thursday : Visited Ostia Antica.
- Friday : Walked to Trastevere and back via Tiber Island and then visited Crypta Balbi followed by a little tour around the local back streets. Flew back home.
A quick comparison of key statistics :-
At Work : 21,854
On Holiday : 96,560
At Work : 10.6
On Holiday: 46.79
At Work : 14,604
On Holiday : 22,228
The reason why steps taken and miles walked are more than four times greater and yet calories burned are only 50% more is that you’re burning calories even when at rest.
Okay, I had one medium sized gelato every day and rather more wine than I would have normally conumed, but I didn’t eat heavily throughout the week. I had a reasonable breakfast and then maybe just a panini and some olives, nuts and fruit during the rest of the day. I didn’t set foot inside a restaurant all week, there didn’t seem much point because I was on holiday alone.
The figures given by the pedometer are only going to be approximate, although I reckon they’re not too far out. I also realise that to properly work out just how “good for me” my holiday was I really would need to be keeping track of calories going in not just calories used.
Having said all of that, I think that the combination of all that exercise and the relaxation and enjoyment of my holiday has done me a power of good. Holidays really are way better for you than work, or rather maybe I should say being at work sat behind a desk all day. That is clearly not good for you at all.