Sunday, January 8, 2017

Getting Fit

After Christmas I found myself the new owner of a Fitbit Activity Tracker.  I have family members who run actual races and they own various running watches and heartrate trackers but I never really thought of such an item for myself.  I have heard other people talk about them and their daily steps and I never really worried about how many steps I was taking either.  Step counting reminded me of the ill fated McDonalds promotion back when the Atkins Diet was all the rage and they advertised "adult" Happy Meals containing a salad, a bottle of water and a free pedometer.  Oh PLEASE MCDONALDS!  Who would go to McDonalds for a crappy salad and a bottle of water?  We all know that whole thing didn't last. 

Anyway, one thing that intrigued me about fitness tracker users was how they knew about their sleep cycles.  This was interesting to me because I wake up a lot in the night and sometimes I feel like I hardly get any sleep at all due to all the interruptions.  I was ready to test out everything so on Christmas day afternoon I hooked the watch to the charger, added the app to my phone and synced everything up.  It took awhile so I forgot about it until I was about to fall asleep that night.  I ran downstairs to get it and passed out after a day of stuffing my face and drinking wine.  The next morning I was informed that I slept for seven straight hours with one waking and two restless periods.  Not bad at all considering I went to bed really late and was awakened earlier than I wanted to be. 

As the weeks have passed since Christmas I have noticed some trends.  First, I NEVER sleep eight hours.  I rarely sleep longer than seven hours and a few minutes and I often sleep six and a half hours.  On nights when the kids don't wake me up at all I usually wake up once on my own.  Tessa has a cold right now and has been waking up whining on and off all night long for a few days.  Last night she woke me up five times. When I saw that my first thought was, "is that all?"  It felt like I didn't sleep at all. 

As far as activity, the recommended amount of steps each day is 10,000.  Supposedly the average American office worker takes around 2,500.  The Fitbit defaulted my goal to 8,000 which can be changed but I haven't changed it.  In the days after Christmas I wasn't reaching that goal very easily unless I went to a store or the mall.  Well, once the usual routine set in there was a big change.  The first morning Ben had school I had 1,500 steps by the time I dropped him off at 8:30 a.m. Holy moly.  I returned my usual YMCA schedule and decided I wanted to...gulp...run on the treadmill to really push my heart rate and see what kind of shape the Fitbit told me I am in (average to good for a woman my age) and by lunchtime on every weekday last week I already had the 8,000 steps for the day.  It seems silly but it really does make me feel better about myself and more energized.  And, although I have avoided all treadmill running for a long time I acknowledge what every regular runner knows...it really can lift your mood.  I usually use the elliptical machine which has suited me better during these years of pregnancy and nursing but the level of exertion is just not even close to the same. 

So, I'm getting a kick out of this thing.  If night comes and I haven't reached my stair climbing goal of ten floors I take a few laps to meet it.  If you sit around too long and aren't going to reach at least 250 steps per hour, it vibrates and says, "wanna stroll?" and tells you how many you need.   


This is my pathetic Sunday afternoon step count as Milo naps, Tessa watches TV in another room and I sit with the computer watching the Steelers and Dolphins beating up on each other.  I did vacuum earlier so that racked up some activity. 

I really like how information is presented in little graphs.  I love graphs.  I don't know what that means as far as personality but it feels a bit uncharacteristic compared to other things I like since I am not exactly meticulous and detail oriented but I love them.  Here are my heart rate graphs from the last week. 


You can see my running activity in the red peaks. On Thursday I was going to swim and manually enter the activity since most Fitbits aren't water proof but I forgot my swimming suit.  You can see the little yellow spike around eight a.m. during the pre-preschool panic.  There are line graphs like the ones above and various types of bar graphs.  You can view long term periods of time as you accumulate days so you can see your improvement.  You can also earn little badges for accomplishing things.  You even get one for walking the mediocre amount of 5,000 steps in a day which I have done every day so far.  Oh yeah oh yeah. 

At Christmas my sister said she would like to see the stats for a toddler wearing a Fitbit.  I can't imagine...it would be steps too fast to count! 

This post was pretty boring...here's a picture of Allan looking like a duck floating on the carpet to spice it up a bit. 

1 comment:

Ashley Strukel said...

I can attest to the office worker 2500, because that's exactly what I averaged when I got my first Fitbit and had my cubicle job. When I was pregnant with Henry I actually started parking further away and talking walks outside during my breaks so that I could have some small level of self respect after my daily donut. The Fitbit was definitely a motivator for me, even though my mom and sister routinely killed me in step counts. I haven't used mine since before thanksgiving. I should really Fire that beast up.