Does Crafting Count as Exercising?

FitBit and polymer clayLast month I joined the FitBit Nation when I received a lovely turquoise blue FitBit Charge for my birthday.  I was not in the market for a FitBit for many reasons, not the least of which is I tend to run the opposite direction from any fad or trend.  If “everyone” is rushing to get one, it’s the last thing I want. I think that makes me what the technology industry calls a “late adopter.”

However, receiving a trendy thing as a gift doesn’t count as jumping on the trend wagon. (Unless you hinted about or specifically asked for the thing, which I did not. Honest.)  And I will admit I am entertained by my new gadget. I don’t wear it religiously and I don’t have the app on my phone. But I do like seeing how many steps/miles I’ve walked in a day.

I have yet to hit the recommended 10,000 steps in a day.  However, despite having a desk job, I’ve averaged over 7,000 steps a day during a workweek. About half of that is because I walk to/from work. Another quarter is because no one packs me a lunch so I have to go forage at midday. The rest is the usual trips to retrieve things from the printer, walking to meeting rooms, and visiting the restroom.

The first weekend that I wore my FitBit I didn’t leave the apartment. I had a cold. Even so, I racked up a few thousand steps per day moving back and forth between the living room where I convalesced in front of the tv, and the kitchen where I brewed ginger tea (best served with honey and fresh lemon juice) and heated up soup.

Ingredients for ginger tea

Ginger tea with honey and fresh lemon juice may not cure a cold, but it definitely soothes a sore throat. And makes the home smell delightful.

I decided to wear it on a rainy Sunday when I was planning to work in the polymer clay studio. Just to see how much “exercise” I get on a creative day. Followers of this blog know that my polymer clay studio also doubles as my kitchen. I therefore guessed the step count would be about the same as on that weekend I was shuffling about feeling like death on a cracker.

I multi-task my weekend chores and my creative projects.  A typical weekend day at home would include putting a load of clothes in the washer, cleaning the dishes in the sink, setting up the pasta machine, and gathering my polymer clay supplies from the various locations where they are squirreled around the apartment.

Four polymer clay fish in baking pan

This is not the best photo of the fruits of my labors during my crafting FitBit experiment. But you get the general idea. I was productive.

After doing exactly that, I stood at the kitchen counter conditioning and sheeting polymer clay and then sculpting a couple of fish ornaments. I also transferred the clothes to the dryer rack and started a second load. Then I checked my steps before taking a lunch break. I was shocked to see I had taken over 6,000 steps so far. Really?

No, not really. Apparently, cranking the handle on the pasta machine when wearing your FitBit on that wrist will fool your device into thinking you’re walking and walking and walking.  So, that was a bit of a failed experiment.

However, I do think I should get credit for exercising. I mean, I wasn’t sitting down, and I wasn’t standing completely still while working with the clay. But how many calories does that burn?  Not that I’m going to put the app on my phone just so I can log them, or anything.

But really, how many calories, do you think?

14 thoughts on “Does Crafting Count as Exercising?

  1. Shari Gardner

    LMAO, Tammy. I would think cranking that pasta machine has got to count for something. Maybe try adding an ankle weight to your wrist and crank on some muscle. Hmmmm..that doesn’t sound like a bad idea..I might try it. I’m so glad you wrote this. Had me cracking up.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks. Shari. Adding weights to my crafting might be a good idea. If I can figure out how to do things with both arms equally so I don’t end up lopsided. 🙂

  2. Barbara Swinton

    You’re too funny, Tammy:) It sounds like crafting is exercise! I tried the pedometer for a period a couple of years back…when I was more active than now, and I found it really hard to get to 10,000. Then I wore it when we went to the Adirondacks one summer (not a fair measure of my routine exercise – but I felt I could probably pat myself on the back at least once) and I was so excited to see that on the longest hiking day, I took 25,000 steps. But how accurate was my pedometer? Sometimes I would count my steps to see how it corresponded and it didn’t (not in my favor). Soooo, I’d really love to hear how accurate you think the FitBit is. And I commend you for giving it a try…always looking for inspiration no matter what the source:)

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Barbara. I’m not sure how accurate my step count is. There’s a way to calibrate it to my actual stride. Seemed like too much work. 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Paula. I did feel I accomplished something. Even if the FitBit experiment part was a fail.

  3. Beth Petricoin

    Love this post, and your sense of humor and wonder! 😀 I too usually buck the trends (don’t even have a cell phone). But I do have a new iPod and when I found out that the health app on it works with the vivosmart by Garmin, I got one on eBay. Had it about a week now and I’m enjoying seeing my steps and just how little “deep sleep” I get… now I know why I’m always so darn tired… or maybe it’s all that polymer/pasta machine cranking! 😉 LOL!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Beth. I have worn my FitBit overnight for a week and while it definitely does not accurately reflect how much actual sleep I got, it did a fair job of showing how frequently I was not sleeping. So, much like your device, it confirmed what I already suspected about my sleep. Always nice to have confirmation. Actual sleep would be better, though. 🙂

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