Getting Fit With Fitbit?

Of course, I didn’t expect instant miracles, and after a decent walk down at Ferry Meadows, I haven’t pushed it in the last few days.

But I have had fun setting up the watch the way I want it, with a nice non-fussy face (ChronoBasic) and a personal target of 6,000 steps, rather than the usual default of 10,000. The “10,000 steps to fitness” was always a marketing thing, anyway – there is no research showing that 10,000 steps is optimum. For me, it is sufficiently different from my day-to-day to be discouraging.

6,000 steps is above my normal daily steps, but is reachable – even exceedable – with planning and effort. I think an achievable target is one worth having. My plan is that when I am reaching 6,000 steps regularly – say, 5 out 7 days – I’ll increase it to 7,000 or 8,000, and take it from there.

What my old Fitbit didn’t have (or, at least, I don’t recall using it) is hourly targets. This is a modest set number of steps – just 250, although this can be tweaked by apps – that if you don’t achieve them within the hour, it will warn you at 10 minutes to the hour.

250 steps is nothing. I can do it simply by walking around my living room’s footstool 25 times. Usually I don’t have to, but if it buzzes me and tells me I need to do another 60 steps to hit the target, I’ll do something like go outside to pick up after Katie, or take the laundry upstairs, or walk around the footstool 6 times. It is an hourly reminder to get off your butt, which is optional, but I find very useful. I have it set from 9am to 7pm – 10 hours – so if I hit all the targets, that is 2,500 of my 6,000 steps taken care of automatically.

The big bonus – as expected – is the sleep tracking. I actually had a really bad night’s sleep the other night, and it showed me that. Which was also reassuring because I felt like shit, and I could see why. When you have a medical sleep issue, it is easy to become inured to it, and ignore the signs. The watch helps to reassure me that when I feel normal, I have been sleeping normal. One bad night in a week of good sleeps isn’t going to do me much harm.

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