Year after year, when the clock strikes midnight announcing the 1st of January, we can’t help but wonder what our resolutions should be. Often, they tend to circle around similar ideas – eating healthier, getting more sleep, and hardest of all, working out more. Personally, I have always loved working out; however, this past year, I found it harder than ever to stay on track with a consistent workout schedule. Thankfully, I received quite an interesting gadget for Christmas – a Fitbit. I immediately became excited to see if this fitness tracker will in fact play even the slightest role in helping me achieve my New Year resolution of getting back into exercising.
The Fitbit has numerous functions, but my personal favourite is the step tracker, since it does the best job at keeping me motivated. At first I was curious to see how accurate it would be – I tried shaking the Fitbit or moving my arm up and down, but no steps were tracked unless I physically moved my legs and walked (unlike the pedometers you used to find in cereal boxes). The ideal step goal for a day is 10,000 steps, which may not seem too difficult to achieve, but it is definitely a challenge (one that I haven’t been achieving regularly just yet). Once you hit 10,000 steps, your Fitbit vibrates and fireworks show up. I’m not going to lie; it’s the best feeling in the world and really encourages you to keep moving. Now that I have my Fitbit, I no longer spend my lunch breaks sitting around, but instead you’ll see me walking around the quad or the COE. My sister and I are also in competition with each other for the most steps through one of the Fitbit’s challenges called the Workweek Hustle. A little competition with your closest friends or family always turns into a lot of fun, not to mention provides additional motivation!
It’s important to remember not to feel bad about yourself if you’re not achieving the 10,000 step goal everyday because in the end, it’s not every single day that you’ll find yourself running around. Not all forms of exercise consist of stepping. For instance, a day spent shopping without actually hitting the gym easily helps me gain my 10,000 steps, however a day spent at home doing yoga and pilates may only make me reach 5,000 steps. This is why you should keep in mind that even if the number of steps on your tracker isn’t increasing, it doesn’t mean that you’re not working out – the Fitbit will still recognize your physical activity through an increase in your heart rate as well as through your indication of the type of activity you’re performing (i.e. weight lifting).
The Fitbit still has a few other functions that I appreciate, even if I may not use them all the time. I find the heart rate monitor extremely helpful because in the past, I would never think twice about how my heart rate would change in different situations. Now, I’m aware of my resting heart rate and can modify the intensity of my workouts based on my heart rate. The calorie burn monitor helps you become aware of how many calories you’re losing during the day in relation to your physical activity, which can guide you in modifying your calorie intake. If you need help with creating a healthy meal plan, you can look into the meal planning function in the Fitbit which tracks your meals and even lets you input your water intake to track hydration. When worn to bed, the Fitbit will even track your sleep, which is helpful if you’re working towards attaining a certain number of hours of sleep or if you’re interested in seeing how many minutes you spend tossing, turning, and waking up during the night.
These different functions may sound silly to some of you, but in the long run, they can truly help you become aware of your body, needs, and limitations, helping you to make better-informed decisions and to take charge of your eating, sleeping, and exercising habits. My only advice would be to not depend entirely on your Fitbit for a healthy lifestyle. Remember that you’re not exercising to beat someone at a challenge or to receive praise from your Fitbit, but that you’re exercising for your own health. So if your Fitbit is charging, or if you forget to put it on, trust me, your steps still count, and walking is just as beneficial to your health even when it’s not being tracked. If you’re anything like me and can imagine yourself enjoying the extra motivational boost, then I suggest you go for it – the Fitbit might just become your best friend!