Last year at this time, I posted a great You Tube video titled “23 1/2 hours“, which showed that low fitness was the strongest predictor of death. After watching that video and writing that post, I vowed to wear my pedometer again. Which I did. And it would fall off; I couldn’t count on it to be accurate; I never knew if I was progressing; the batteries kept dying and I just got annoyed by it.
So I went on the hunt! There had to be something better, that would actually motivate me and allow me to track my progress and push myself. Remember we are talking about adding years to my life here people! Having a 23% lower risk of death, never mind all the benefits to my weight, my heart and my happiness by just adding a few extra steps seemed like something both you and I should take seriously!
One of my very successful clients Rick, who I have introduced you all to was using a Fitbit and shared about it in his Wellness group. As he was sharing how he has been tracking his activity and pulled out this small black paper clip that fit in the palm of his hand. I was amazed that this little gadget could track your steps, flights of stairs climbed, calories burned, and distance traveled. It also automatically syncs your data to PCs, Macs, the iPhones, and iPads, where it is stored for your review.
charts, and tools designed to help you track your progress and understand your health and fitness. Knowing how close you are to reaching your goals gives you added incentive to achieve them and aim higher. It also has a feature where you can compete with family and friends who also have a fitbit or join a group. I currently compete with my mother online and it seems silly but when she is beating me in steps is makes me take and extra walk at the end of the day or park that much further away.
The Fitbit dashboard also has features where you can log your food, water, workouts, weight, and more. You can also export your Fitbit data to several popular fitness apps. Some of them – including SparkPeople, Lose It!, MyFitnessPal, and MapMyFITNESS. I currently keep track of my food using Lose It! and it synches with my Fitbit dashboard automatically. I love to have all my nutrition and exercise information at the tips of my fingers.
And when you thought fitbit had thought of it all, slip it into your wrist band at night, and it’ll measure your sleep cycle. The device tracks your hours of sleep and quality. Sleep is essential to health and weight control. Poor sleep habits can contribute to about 10% weight gain for many people. There is an inverse relationship between weight and sleep; the less sleep you get each night, the heavier you tend to be.
Steps are a big deal and as Americans we are certainly not getting enough. Americans average just 5,117 steps per day, far fewer than people in Australia (9,695), Switzerland (9,650) and Japan (7,168). Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults are obese, compared with 16 percent in Australia, 8 percent in Switzerland and 3 percent in Japan. These findings were published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, in October 2010. This should be no shocker to us but there seems to be a correlation to how much we move with our weight and healthy.
Our environment is changing more and more to promote a sedentary life, so it is up to each and everyone of us to seek out ways to motivate ourselves to do more and to take more steps. Fitbit for me and many of my clients is just one simple way of doing that. But is is also not the only accelerometer or gadget that can do that for you.
My challenge for you this week is to find that gadget, accelerometer or maybe even a Fitbit, that motivates you to move more in your daily life. With the Holidays coming up it might be a perfect gift to ask for and/or to give.
Add years to your life, one step at a time!