My Fitbit has changed my life. Not drastically, but it has changed the way I do some things – enough that I thought it was worth posting about.
Just keep walkin’…
My experience with Fitbit started a couple years ago as I was training for The 3 Day. You can read about why I would do something so crazy here.
I met this woman, Ally (@Allybird82), on twitter. We started training together. One of the times we were out walking, she told me about her Fitbit. I had seen some other friends tweeting about theirs, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a pedometer. After all, I could spend $12 on one
that lasted a couple weeks, or fell of somewhere in the woods while I was training, right? I had probably spent over $100 on pedometers to track my training, but never had luck with any of them. As my kids would say, #FAIL!
Ally ended up losing one, getting a new one, then finding the other one (or something like that). She gave me her old one (I know, I still can’t believe it). I tried to get it synced to my computer, but did something wrong, and I set it aside. I tried again just before The 3 Day, but my computer was having serious issues, and it didn’t work again.
During The 3 Day, my teammate, Kathi (@Auntkathi), had her Fitbit on. Somewhere around the same time, my husband Jason (@StrateSQL), got one. After The 3 Day, I decided to try again with the Fitbit. This time, it worked. It was actually really simple to get started on. I don’t know what my problem was before that.
What IS a Fitbit?
A fitbit is a little device that you wear. It tracks your steps, calories, number of stairs climbed, and you can even use it to track your sleep (I tend to forget to set it before bed). It’s different from other pedometers in that it has an interactive website that you can sync it to. On the website, you can set goals for steps taken. You can also track your weight goals, your diet, calories, exercise, etc. The most fun part of the website, is that you can compete with your friends that also have a Fitbit device for the most steps taken in a week. You can also cheer them on, and leave encouraging messages.
My first Fitbit Tracker broke. As a preschool teacher, I tend to sit at itty bitty tables often. Wearing my Fitbit on my pockets of my pants, meant that at some point, I would hit it on the edge of the table. When I did, it snapped apart. The electronics in that thing were tough though. I was able to get it together several times before I lost the pieces inside, and had to get a new one. I bought my 2nd one off ebay. After enough time, the same thing happened to that one. This time, I had glued the entire outside together, but the lawnmower brought it to its demise.
Finally, I bought my newest one at Target. I got the newest, most updated version of the Fitbit One. Right away, I loved the design of the new one. It is a smaller, sleaker version of the old Tracker I had. It is held inside a silicone clip/case, so even if I bump the edge of my preschool sized tables at work, it won’t just snap apart. I’m pretty sure that it would take some effort to break this one! I also discovered that there is now a mobile fitbit app (available in the Android Play Store, and likely in the Apple store as well). I can turn on the bluetooth on my phone, and it will automatically sync my Fitbit stats. It works hand in hand with the website, so I no longer have to worry about plugging in to my USB port to update it. It is slightly more waterproof than the older version (not something I have had to worry about yet, but my husband has been known to forget to take his off while jetskiing). It also seems to have a longer battery life than my previous two!
In addition to our devices, we also own the Aria Scale that syncs right with the website. It not only tells your weight, but also your body fat %. I’m never happy with the numbers that show up, but it’s nice that it all works together.
What’s the point?
I originally titled this post “How Fitbit Changed my Life”. Since the point of the story came so late in the post, I decided to change the title. So, why DO I love my Fitbit?? Because, it has made me walk more. Walking more is good for your body! The goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps in a day. That seems really hard, but it equals about 5 miles total for an average person. It makes you realize a few things:
- You walk more than you think you do. 10K steps is not that hard to reach with a little extra effort. For my mother-in-law, this means 2 extra walks around her neighborhood per day.
- You go up (and down) your steps more than you think you do. The goal I set for myself is to climb 20 flights of stairs/day. I think the default is 15, but we have a lot of steps in our house, so I raised mine. The Fitbit only counts flights you climb, not the ones you go down. It will however, still counts those in your steps taken per day.
How can you get in 10,000 steps?
For me, there are a few ways to reach that 10K mark. I don’t always get there. In fact, I usually average about 8,000-9,000 steps per day. What I can tell you, is that the numbers would be lower if I didn’t have a Fitbit, or if I didn’t pay attention to what it tells me. I watch where I am at, and try to boost the numbers when I can. Also, I can tell you that being really close to your friends on the “friend rankings” list is a great motivator! No one wants to see that their friend is only a couple hundred steps ahead of them! I may be a little obsessed, because I have gotten to the point that not wearing my Fitbit makes me feel as odd as taking off my wedding ring. That being said, I know others are way more obsessed! ;-)
Here are some ways to get those extra steps in:
- Park further away - I no longer park in the closest spot possible (unless it’s raining). I park further away to get those extra steps in.
- Don’t pile all your laundry up – I used to make a pile of all the clean clothes that needed to be put in the closet, then do the whole stack at once. Now, I walk from the bed (where I fold all my clothes) to the closet to hang up each item individually. I also take each stack of kids’ clothes to their rooms separately (even though they are right across the hall from each other). Doing these extra little things can add a couple hundred more steps on fairly easily.
- Take your dog for more walks.
- Go on more walks with your family – Our block is exactly one mile around. Jason and I enjoy going for walks together. It gets us both moving, and gives us some quality time together. We sometimes bring the kids or dog, but usually go just the two of us.
- Walk around the store more – My mother-in-law has been working really hard to get her 10K steps per day in. She told me that one night, it was raining. She didn’t feel like walking in the rain, so she went to Target, and walked the inside perimeter of the store until she got to her step count. I thought that was brilliant! I sometimes use getting more steps in as an excuse to just walk up and down the aisles at Target or the local grocery store.
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator
- Use the push mower vs the rider – we pretty much always push mow the front, and use the riding lawn mower in the back. Last week, I push-mowed the entire thing. It was a lot of work, but I got a lot more steps in that way! Mundane walking tasks (like mowing, vacuuming, and even sweeping or mopping) can add a lot of steps as you go back and forth, over and over.
How do you get your extra steps in each day? Feel free to write in the comments section!
Interesting note, just as I thought about writing this post, I found another post on the same topic.
Have a happy, and step-filled day! :-)