Do you want to improve your general fitness and wellbeing? One way to do that is to track how much you’re moving. I have to admit I use a Fitbit day and night and love it! Keep in mind these are not just for “athletes”.
Awareness is Key
I often say to my clients that awareness is the key to change. If you don’t know something is off, you won’t recognize a need for change. When you start paying attention, you can more easily make changes in your lifestyle and behavior. For instance, I didn’t realize how few steps I was taking on a regular basis. A Fitbit (or whatever wearable tracker you prefer) will give you measurable information that can inform and motivate you to make the changes that can have a positive impact on your health.
I happen to have a Fitbit Charge 2 and couldn’t be happier with the sleek design, easily interchangeable watch bands and the data it provides. (full transparency-I have no vested interest in this product-just sharing my experience.)
I love that it tracks my steps. I didn’t realize until I started using a Fitbit, how few steps I was taking on a regular basis. It was a rude awakening but knowledge is power. If I’m working on the computer for too long, it will remind me before the hour is up, that I need x number of steps to complete 250 for the hour. Just that little reminder gets me off my butt and doing a quick chore that has me on my feet. I have to admit I enjoy the positive feedback of the cheering icon on my watch face as it acknowledges I hit that small goal. Who doesn’t appreciate a little pat on the back from time to time?! It is the motivator that also has me walking more in general and parking farther away from store entrances to get more steps. Reminder-don’t let trying to get your 10,000 steps in, take you away from your other fitness goals like strength training, flexibility, and balance training. Steps are just one spoke on the fitness wheel.
It also tracks how much cardiovascular work I do. That is more difficult for me since I really don’t like to run but with a good brisk walk, hike, Zumba class or Bikram yoga class, my tracker will tell me when I’ve hit the desired 30-minute minimum cardio mark.
Multimodal Sports Setting
I can easily select different exercise modalities like yoga, hiking, running etc to track my data.
Con: Unfortunately, though it has a Pilates setting, it doesn’t accurately track the benefit of mind-body exercise like Pilates and won’t reflect the benefit of mobility and balance work, but my body, how it feels, registers the benefit! Con: It’s not waterproof (don’t swim with it). Pro: I have unknowingly worn it briefly in the shower and even plunged into the hot tub before noticing quickly. In both instances though, like the energizer bunny, it kept on ticking.
Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate (RHR) is a reliable indicator of fitness and recovery. As we get older, our RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can improve your health by exercising within your target heart rate zone to help lower your RHR. Keep in mind that stress, sleep deprivation, and dehydration can all increase your resting heart rate. RHR norms for the average adult is 60-100bpm and for 40-60bpm for a conditioned athlete.
I find this really valuable to understand not only the quantity of my sleep but the quality as well. Sleep is when the restorative processes in our body happen. Without sufficient quality sleep, our weight, our health and our ability to focus are compromised. An added perk, I set a silent alarm on my watch and a gentle vibration wakes me up in the morning.
Hooking it up to my laptop USB port to charge via a provided dongle is quick and easy. I’ve never had it go dead or run out of charge. It warns me well ahead of time and charges in a short amount of time.
Which Fitbit is right for you? There are lots of styles of Fitbits with different bells and whistles. The Charge 2, which is middle of the road, seemed to fit what I wanted the best. A Charge 3 has since been released but I don’t feel a need to upgrade. Compare the different trackers side by side on the Fitbit.com website to pick the features most important to you. If you or someone you care about would benefit from healthy incentive by the data provided as well as the gentle reminders and celebratory fireworks, I’d encourage you to give it a try! You’ve got nothing to lose and better health to gain.