Post #225 October 7, 2014
I have a new toy- a Fitbit Flex. It’s a computerized pedometer – they are all the rage these days. I’m generally not one for gadgets, especially ones that monitor my progress/efforts at anything (I hate to be controlled by machinery…or anything for that matter) but this one seemed like too much fun.
Basically, you strap it on your non-dominant arm at the wrist and it counts the number of steps you take in a day. While it doesn’t have a read-out on the strap, it does have a series of lights to let you know where you are on your daily goal (each light represents 20% of your goal). You sync it with your computer to get a read-out with all kinds of data it’s collected. In addition to counting your steps, it provides other info as well, like how well you sleep and how many calories you burn, but for me, counting steps is the point.
When you reach your goal, the wristband vibrates and buzzes, providing an inordinate sense of pleasure and accomplishment.
So, the goal is 10,000 steps – health research today advises that taking 10,000 steps a day is what we should be doing to maintain good health. That’s about 5 miles.
I have been wearing it for about two weeks – the first week I aimed for 7500 steps, which was pretty achievable, providing I walked to work and back (which I generally do anyway). Throw in a trip to Costco or a day of housework and I was easily over.
Last week I upped my goal to 8500 – again, did that most days and several days I hit 10,000…and even a couple of days of 12,000. I began to see the fun in all this - you know what they say, “what gets measured, gets done.”
David Sedaris (one of my favourite essayists) wrote a hilarious piece about the Fitbit for the New Yorker called Stepping Out – Living the Fitbit Life.
It does have an effect – I am more inclined to get up and move around at work, to take the long way home, to make those extra trips up and down the stairs to the laundry - all good things. It is still new so I have a tendency to smack my wristband dozens of times a day to activate the lights and see how I’m doing; hopefully that will wear off soon as my wrist is getting sore.
And I have noticed that on the days I do nothing – no work, no shopping, no housework (oh those rare, blissful days, how I long for them) I really am sedentary, barely breaking the 3000 step mark, and that is mostly trips to the bathroom and the kitchen. Breath-takingly slug-like.
I may be imagining it, but I do feel better – more energetic, a bit more of a bounce in my step, my knees not quite so creaky. Those little glowing lights on my wrist radiating good health and charming me into doing more. Last night I was a couple of hundred steps away from my goal so there I was, nightgown on, teeth brushed, contacts out...pounding up and down the hallway trying to add a few more steps and achieve my vibration...
Fitbit, the new friend...counting every step you take, every breath you make...