I bought a Fitbit on Black Friday and have been walking for the buzz ever since. For those of you not wearing a Fitbit tracker on your wrist, “the buzz” is a vibration and visual display of celebration that flickers across the tiny digital screen when you reach your goal for the day.
It still catches me by surprise — even when I’ve recently checked the watch to see how many steps I’ve taken and know I’m close to 10,000 (the default setting I have not bothered to adjust). Sometimes I look at the band and see the celebration too. It’s like a party on my wrist.
I work out daily and consider myself a fitness regular — and my FitBit step counting is just the icing on the cake. (The “cake” being weight lifting or swimming or cycling or more intense exercise that I don’t bother measuring or recording on my Fitbit or its accompanying app.)
When I published a post about my Fitbit the day after I bought it, you would have thought I committed the unpardonable sin. I was rewarded with a comment that simply indicated: “Fitbit: Destroying Innate Self-Awareness and Intuition Since 2007 (For more, see GPS).”
Of course, I immediately took offense at that. I was simply going to use the Fitbit as a tool, a motivator, a measurement of activity (and to make it easy to keep track of my steps for the walking challenges we keep having at work). I was not planning on disengaging my self-awareness and intuition. Bahh!
The downside to wearing a Fitbit vs. a pedometer, however, is that it measures arm movement, not leg movement. Do you have any idea how often I am carrying something when I walk? Either over the shoulder, in the crook of my elbow, or the hand of the very arm bearing the tracker?
When I walk into the health club, for instance, I carry two gym bags, my hanging clothes, and my keys (and pepper spray, just in case you were thinking I walked unprotected). I strategically drape one bag over my left shoulder, carry the other bag in my right hand, pin my hanging clothes under my right elbow — so I can swing my left arm (with my keys) to clock my movements on my Fitbit.
To count my steps as I enter my office building, I throw both my lunch box strap and my purse strap over my left shoulder, carrying my cooler in my right hand, along with my key card. I swing my left arm liberally as I stroll.
Last week, when my daughter and grandson came to picnic with me outside of the office, I tried to wheel his stroller with my right hand and swing my left as we walked. (It didn’t work so well.) And you should see my one-handed maneuvering of a shopping cart at the grocery store.
All in the name of step tracking.
It makes me feel a bit silly, actually. Almost as if I’d traded my innate self-awareness and intuition (and pride?) for a step-counting wristwatch. Huh.
But then I earn the buzz on my 10,000th step, and I forget everything else as I experience the celebration.