Ah, yes, all of the joy, fun and exhaustion of Christmas is behind us. Now it’s almost time to make those inevitable but usually short lived New Year’s resolutions. Be nicer…exercise more…use the treadmill for more than just a clothes hangar….lose weight…eat healthier…don’t sweat the small stuff…spend less money…be less stressed….the list goes on and on. How many of us have had at least one of those on our list? How many of us have joined health clubs or gyms over the years right after the New Year? You can’t see that my hand is raised but yes, I’ll admit it – back in my 20’s and 30’s, I did! And how many resolutions did we break by February 1st or worse yet, by January 5th? Yep, my hand is raised for that too! I confess to a total lack of stick-to-ittiveness (I looked it up and that is actually a word in the dictionary) as well!
But this year I’m not waiting for the onset of 2015. My usual “exercise more and eat healthier” resolution for the last vestiges of 2014 and going forward into 2015 and beyond started back on December 10th, thanks to my newest, most favorite gadget that I recently bought as a “Merry Christmas to me” present on Amazon – the Fitbit Charge.
Just what is a Fitbit Charge you ask? According to Amazon, it’s “an advanced activity wristband that tracks your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes”. Sounds good in theory but it does so much more than that! Not only does it track your steps but it will log how many hours you sleep! Also, you can enter info about other types of exercise (i.e biking) so you have a total picture of your daily exercise stats.
And through the very easy to use interface, it will automatically sync my exercise stats from my wristband to the Fitbit app on both my Android Smartphone and my PC. And if you are a stats freak there are all sorts of charts and graphs, so you can see your daily, weekly and monthly progress. Want to keep track of your daily food intake or how much weight you’ve lost, or your daily water intake? You can do all of that as well. Simply log the foods you eat (via a PC or Smartphone) so you can track how many calories you’ve taken in and how many you’ve expended. Hard to describe everything it does, probably best to read about all of the features on the Fitbit website. Note that not every Smartphone, Windows Phone or iPhone supports auto syncing so if you are considering purchasing a Fitbit product, be sure to check the list of supported phones first.
With a price tag of $129 on Amazon Prime, yes, it is a little pricey (but, after all, your health is worth it, don’t you think?) and yes, there are other models that are cheaper. The Fitbit Flex is $99 (still rather pricey) but the problem with this model is that it doesn’t give you real time stats, just an indicator of what percentage (in 20% increments) of your goal steps you have met. That may not be a big deal for others but it was for me. I like stats so I want to see the actual numbers as I am walking.
Before purchasing, I did a lot of research, reading reviews, comparing this to other products on the market – primarily the Garmin Vivofit and the UP by Jawbone (which has since been discontinued). One of the big selling points to me was that everyone seemed to like the easy to use Fitbit application on both the Smartphone and the website. BTW, the reviewers were right – the app is very easy to use and does a great job displaying your stats in a variety of different ways. Be aware that there are many other tracking wristbands (including more advanced Fitbit models) with even more sophisticated features (i.e. a built in heart rate monitor) but these are also more expensive – good for a real sports enthusiast but way overkill for what I wanted or needed at this point in time. The Charge seemed to be the best ‘fit’ for me.
So what was my motivation for buying one? Well, once we arrived in the land of perpetual warmth last month, we would do some walking and biking but on a lot of days my poor hubby would have to chide me and even threaten me with bodily harm (just kidding) because I was perfectly content to sit on my butt (not the words he used) all day working on the computer, mostly writing emails and blog posts. So I knew I needed to make changes. Well, now every morning, at the crack of dawn (well, OK not quite that early), I’m out walking. And believe it or not, we are so busy exercising each morning, we haven’t been out to breakfast much at all! Boo hoo! Be honest now, I know you’ll miss all those breakfast reviews!!!
Since I slapped this thing on my wrist on December 10th, would you believe that I’ve walked 82+ miles for a total of 182,327 steps! It would have been more but I did have to take a few days off because I forgot that I’m not a young chicken anymore and overdid it so my right knee started bothering me. I think it was the 15,000 steps that I did on one day that did me in! But fortunately it was just a temporary set back and after a few days rest, thankfully I was on the move once again.
The fun part is that as you reach certain milestones, Fitbit sends you rather silly but motivational awards via email. As an example, thus far, I’ve achieved the Marathon award for reaching 26 miles and the Urban Boot Award for walking 15,000 steps in one day. Recently when I reached the 70 mile mark, I received the Penguin March Award – the 70 miles matches the distance of the March of the Penguins – the annual trip Emperor Penguins make to their breeding grounds. Who knew that I would be part of the Happy Feet team! I wonder what’s next?
So every morning, these happy feet are pounding the pavement or the grass or whatever, trying to achieve my current daily goal of 10,000+ steps (about 4.5 miles). I must say that competing with yourself is a real motivator. Just get a few more steps and I’ll surpass yesterday’s total steps to the point where I’ll even walk back and forth inside the coach while watching TV. Rob sometimes walks with me but on most days he is zooming around the resort while doing some fast and furious pedaling on his bike.
If you want to get motivated to start moving, you might want to consider a Fitbit or similar product!
Hmmm, do you think this resolution will “stick” this time?