Being in IT, I work a fairly sedentary job. I sit behind a desk for most of the day hammering away on a keyboard and running fingers across a trackpad. Sure, my forearms are getting a workout, but I need to incorporate more movement in my daily routine.
About a year ago my wife asked for a Fitbit, one of the fitness motion trackers that are now flooding the marketplace. The one she requested, the Charge HR, had a way to measure heart rate as well, and I think I paid about $150 for it back then. She wore it unerringly, only removing it for showering and for charging the Fitbit, of which it needed every 3-4 days. She kept track of her progress on the accompanying app and I was startled to see how many steps she was walking on a daily basis. When she was below her daily goal, she would get up and go make her goal.
I started to get curious about how many steps I might be taking just in my daily routine of deskwork and pacing about the office. I got my own Fitbit in November, opting for Charge HR, the same model I had previously purchased for my wife. I was able to find mine for about $100 thanks to a sale around Black Friday. Choosing my non-dominant hand, I replaced my wristwatch with the Fitbit Charge HR. I downloaded and configured the app and I was ready to stroll!
The Charge HR tracker keeps data on the number of steps taken, heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, and total number of active minutes. Using this data, it can derive your sleep patterns and determine how much restful sleep you’re achieving. Clicking around, you can see your daily progress and get graphical data as well.
Within days, I began to realize that I pace… a lot. I was easily clearing 8,000 steps on days where I worked steadily at my desk. I was walking over 10,000 steps on days where I used the phone more, as I tend to pace while talking. That’s over 4,000 calories a day I was burning in just moving around. Imagine what could be done if I started trying?
So I did. But I didn’t go crazy and do a bunch or cardio or anything. I just made it a point to walk more. Going to Target? Let’s park the car out in the boonies and walk. Want to log more steps? Go outside with the kids and shoot some hoops or walk the block. Wearing this Fitbit has helped me in achieving my personal challenge to move more.
The Fitbit app even helps to motivate you by adding a social element. You can add your friends on Facebook and from your contacts. Once you have a few friends on board, challenge each other top a variety of contests and your steps count toward the goal. I joined the first couple of challenges as a whim, and I got hooked. Now, the competitor in me urges me to push those step goals to win, and I’m creating different challenges with different groups of friends.
While I make the excuse that I can’t find time to make it to the gym, wearing this Fitbit has helped me to start to move more, at the very least. Sometimes it can be nice when technology actually makes you work more.