How Fitbit and activity trackers have been beneficial… not so much in a life changing way, but in an effort to be more mindful of daily activity.
Some background: I only purchased one and joined the Fitbit community in August- so about 3 months ago. As an avid runner, I never felt the need to track my steps/calories burned, etc, especially while training. I was only paying attention to mileage and speed, so I missed out on the initial Fitbit and “activity tracker trend” but had always heard great things from friends. This year, I am very proud to say that I achieved my personal greatest athletic accomplishment- I ran and completed the 119th Boston Marathon. After the worst winter I had ever experienced, and running the actual race in some of the worst weather conditions, I think I came out pretty strong 😉 But I did not realize the energy and motivation that running the marathon took out of me (in addition to planning a wedding and oh just a few other things this year), so I noticed my decline in activity over the summer. I was aware of it, and wanted to give my body the “rest” counter-activity (ie LOTS of yoga), and recharge that it so needed.
Anyways, fast forward to August, and I felt the desire to try out an activity tracker to see how it could help me stay on track with being active. Since December/January, I have been using the Health app on the iPhone that automatically tracks steps and distance, but I didn’t think it was super accurate as I didn’t always have my phone on me. So I did some research and found the Fitbit Charge HR which also measures in addition to steps, floors, and distance- your heart rate, which us runners love to be aware of.
So far, its been great! I have engaged in friendly competition with my husband (he has the apple watch but we compare steps all the time*see my Apple Watch thoughts below), and of course with my fellow Fitbit friends. The phrases “Did you get your steps today?” and “guess how many steps that was!” have become quite commonplace in our household, and we enjoy the competition and banter about our activity trackers. And when we were just away on our trip to Europe, I LOVED seeing the amount of activity we were doing on a daily basis, exploring the beautiful cities we visited.
However, I will have to say that there are a few drawbacks of tracking activity… I noticed you feel a huge sense of commitment to your steps, which is great, and has taken us to the level of walking around the neighborhood another lap or two to reach that final step count, or stress about “ah it was such a cold day and I only got 9,000 steps!” And this is when I jokingly pull my husband aside, and say- look, don’t let it control you, you control it… a sort of matrix-y reminder that we are in fact the humans and it is the device… HA
So all jokes aside, I am totally in favor of activity trackers and the benefits they provide in encouraging activity, friendly competition, a social network for being active, and tracking so many other great features. It is just important to remember to pride yourself on being active, and encourage yourself to maintain and keep going strong, especially with winter around the corner, and to not let them control you!! LOL… but seriously 😉
*personal review on Apple Watch: for my husband, he totally loves it. What he says is, if you’re in it for a watch and tracker, that’s great. It has some awesome features, but my main issue with it personally is that it keeps you a bit too connected. Sometimes I like to have some disconnect with my phone, and with the Apple Watch, any text, call, email, etc shows up immediately… So he loves it, but it’s a little too connected for me… However, it tracks a utility different from the Fitbit, so I’m not sure yet which is more accurate- ha! But in doubt? Try one, and you can always exchange or return it if if doesn’t personally work out for you 😉