Are You Fitbit Obsessed? Does Measurement Make Activity More Fun?
Fitbit is a small rubberized wrist device that tracks your activity levels. There are a variety of versions from simple step counters (an updated pedometer) to more sophisticated units with heart rate (HR) monitors and other sensors. Extensive reviews are everywhere.
These rechargeable gizmos, like many small electronic devices, generated a huge buzz when they hit the market a few years ago. The draw to a new gadget that might increase our fitness is a strong one. After the initial excitement, human nature often takes over and the device ends up in the bottom of a drawer. But statistically, after six months of ownership, about half of Fitbit buyers are still regularly using them.
The Fitbit fitness tracker generates strong feelings. People seem to:
Those that love it enjoy the motivation it gives them to be more active.
"I define success as measurable progress towards a goal. Fitbit provides an easy way to measure my success."
Those that hate it feel as if they're constantly being judged. Relaxation is gone.
"My little rubber watch is always nagging me to be more active."
Loving to hate Fitbit are those who think that the whole fitness movement is a waste of time or those that rebel against quantifying experience.
"Why does everything have to be measured and quantified? What's wrong with just enjoying activities?"
Hating to love Fitbit is when you are slave to the regime. People who cannot help themselves, cannot stop until they have surpassed every milestone, exceeded every goal.
"I know it's midnight, but I just need another 1,000 steps..."
As Your Steps Add Up - Keep Your Feet in Mind
If you are in category #1 or #3, pay attention to your feet. Adding miles to your day is great and there are certainly health benefits, but you need to make sure that your feet are well supported. Treat them well and they will respond in kind.
If you tend to go overboard - and become fitbit obsessed like David Sedaris - invest in great footwear to keep your body in alignment and comfortable as you move to 10,000 steps and beyond. Find comfortable walking shoes that are supportive and comfortable. New Balance and Brooks have athletic-based walking shoes and Ecco has a legendary, great fit in a wide array of styles. Think about moisture absorbing merino wool socks from Darn Tough or Smartwool.
Don't forget quality insoles to provide the arch support your feet will need when 10,000 steps seems elementary and you are logging some serious miles. Limiting pronation with bio-mechanically designed arch supports will mean the difference between comfort and pain.
Cyclists Also Get Hooked on Measurement
I have to admit that I get hooked on the measurements. I prefer cycling to running, but knowing the distance I have covered and my average speed is a big motivator for me. My task master is a Garmin 810, a cycling computer that gives me more stats than I know what to do with. When the weather is bad and I can’t cycle outside, I can be found in the basement, on the trainer, with my heart rate monitor on. I’m checking my Garmin and my workout chart as I pedal and binge watch HBO.
What’s your idea of a good time? Measuring for motivation with personal electronics or relaxing and enjoying your thoughts? Let us know.