Being 599 years old now (50) I have turned into one of those “I used to walk 5 miles one way barefoot in the snow to school” people when relating how “hard” we had it back in the day and how soft the yutes of today are. I love saying stuff like, “back in the day we had to look in a phone book for a number or call and get direction or use an actual paper map to get somewhere. These churn know nothing of the hardships we dusties born in the 1960s had to endure. But, let’s be clear, I love my tech. I love saying “ok Google, give me the best chocolate chip cookie recipe while listening to Spotify on my fancy wireless speakers. When it comes to tech and fitness though, I’m decidedly old school. I think the most important tech you need is a good pair of shoes for whatever your activity is. Tech fabric is good too for old hot flashing broads like myself but the wearables? Nah B I’m good. My Timex Ironman tells me how long and how fast I’m going and any course I’m on has mile markers on it. Yet a funny thing happened in March 2015. I had the bright idea to take my old self to the store and get a wearable. I didn’t do any research either. I know my Soror swore by her wearable and if it was good enough for my diva sister it would be good enough for me. So I copped me a Fitbit.
Being a semi-doubter I wasn’t about to drop any serious coin, so I got the next to the cheapest model, the One. It was cool, easy to set up and use and the app was clean. I stuck it on my strap and headed out the door, every day, that I remembered and logged 35 to 45k steps a week. Clearly short of the standard 10,000 a day “they ” say we’re supposed to get. It didn’t help me do any more than I was already doing. Then one day I forgot I had it clipped to mon brassiere and threw it in the washing machine. It no longer worked but I was not pressed. I was busy anyway, working all those jobs trying to get my life together. 10,000 steps, let alone a Fitbit, was the last thing on my mind. Then it happened.
I blew up!
Being a petite fleur, 5 lbs shows up quickly and I was up about 25. Then my doctor was on my case about it so, I got another ONE. I wore it every day got the steps in when I could and reached that fanatic tipping point where I would turn my car around and go back home and get the blasted Fitbit if I forgot it. Who does that? Me and a bunch of other weirdos who want to track every doggone thing. I was full-fledge addicted and it was nothing nice.
I started adding friends on Fitbit, participating in Challenges, and watched my dad and that same Soror whoop me every week in step totals. Didn’t care though, I was actually moving more, was actually getting those pounds off and winning a challenge every now and then. All that “success” justified a reward, that reward was an upgrade. Amazon had the Charge2 on sale and I had to have it.
I was in love. So sleek, so fancy, telling me when to get up off my fanny and move, it was the bomb! Until it wasn’t. I missed my watch. My regular big old Ironman. I TOOK it off and put my One back on and watch my steps turn well, weird. I could walk through Wal-Mart and get a thousand steps with the One and get MAYBE a quarter of that with the Charge2. I could do my hair for an hour with the Charge2 and get a thousand steps sitting down. I called bulls***.
The Charge2 is arm sensitive/driven. Do a lot of arm moving and waving and those steps go up. Walk with little arm movement or if it isn’t loose enough on the arm the steps are woefully under counted. There’s some user forums and documents and such that tell you to measure your steps and calibrate to address those issues. Then I remembered why I didn’t get a wearable for such a long time. I ain’t trying to do ALL THAT.
Now it’s May 2017. I still wear them both but use the Charge2 mostly for cardio and strength training and the One for walking. As of the day of this writing I haven’t worn either for a few days and it’s been GREAT! You see sometimes too much of a good thing is exactly that, too much. Fitbit had me stressing over how much sleep I wasn’t getting (which was also dead wrong), how I can smoke my friends step count and going into full scale panic when I didn’t have it on. Do I think wearables are useful? Absolutely, they can be a motivator and provide instant feedback on what you’re doing. However they can’t be wholly relied upon to starting or maintaining a healthy body/healthy life. In my experience, how my body and mind feel continues to be the best gauge of stamina, strength, flexibility and how rested and mentally well I am. Might be the same for you too.
Tell me about your experience. Do you use a wearable to measure your exercise, steps, heart rate and such? How’s it working out for you? Let me know in the comments or in the usual spots and until next time, see you on the trail where I’ll be rocking my trusty Ironman and maybe a Fitbit hidden somewhere.
P.S. add me on Fitbit 😃