SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, June 09, 2013

Fitbits

About 15 plus years ago, I bought a Franklin-Covey DayTimer to plan my day.  Information Systems weren't as advanced then, and I wanted some system to prioritize my work.  I used it for a while, found for a time that I spent too much time organizing my work and not enough time doing it, and, ultimately, stopped using the system.  It wasn't so much that Franklin-Covey had a bad system -- I liked it -- it was that it might have been better for people who do other kinds of work.

I'll confess that I sit too much.  I sit at work.  The parking lot is a short walk from my office, and I don't walk a lot during the day.  We sit watching our kids play sports, work is tiring, so we sit watching TV, and we do enough on-line that we don't park in store lots as much as we used to and spend a lot of time walking around stores and malls.

Someone at work got a Fitbit, talked about how he measured his exercise, how he measured his sleep, and, truth be told, he has worked hard to get into better shape and snack less.  He also talked about how optimally we need to get 10,000 steps a day.

And that's a lot.

I got a Fitbit upon his recommendation and the recommendation of an acquaintance.  I've started keeping it in my pocket, and I've noticed a few things.  Sure, I'm more conscious of the steps I take.  Second, I don't get as many "steps" or mileage as I thought pounding away on my spin bike (translated:  45 minutes equate to roughly 4500 steps).  Third, I don't climb stairs all that much.  Fourth, I need to figure out ways to get that other 5500 steps.

Walking to a nearby shopping mall for lunch is worth roughly 2200 steps.  Walking the dog in the neighborhood after work -- assuming that he is cooperative -- is worth about 2000 steps.  And, yes, I do some walking within the office, so, if I exercise, take another long walk and do some walking at work, I can get my 10,000 steps in.  50 sets of stairs are harder to come by.

I suppose that this Fitbit craze is a good thing.  Americans need to walk (and hydrate) more.  The longest days put us in better moods and get us into t-shirts and shorts more easily.  That said, the winter is gloomy, the weather is cold and wet, the ice and snow can present problems, the days are shorter, and, I think, the test will be when winter comes, how do we get the extra exercise outside the gym.  The mountain sports stores have all sorts of layers and workout equipment, so we can get outside, but the question is whether we will.

Fitbits themselves aren't the answer, though.  If you still eat a lot of fat and carbs, drink a few glasses of wine with dinner, eat pasta and bread and, of course, dessert, you'll put in your steps but you won't lose any weight.   So, it's not just the Fitbit, it's your whole regimen.

Exercise is good.

Measurement with a Fitbit is good for accountability.

Diet is important, as is hydration.

As are good social relationships, hobbies, interests and the like.

There is no one easy answer, but if Fitbits help spur us onto greater fitness, they'll do individuals and the healthcare system a very good deed.

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