Fitness trackers adorn the wrists of adults going about their daily business all over the place. They jiggle up and down as grown ups power through the day. There is a dazzling array of options when it comes to the style, design and various functions offered. I think in the day of increasing obesity rates and health problems, anything that encourages us to move more is to be praised.
It’s easy to scoff at them and ask what purpose they serve, aren’t we all adults who should be able to take personal responsibility for being active already? I used to think like that, that if you needed an electronic device to make you realise you can’t spend all day sitting, then there were bigger issues.
But now I feel sorry for the people who think like that, they will never know the dizzying heights of feeling your wrist buzz as the Fitbit announces you are AMAZING and have reached your daily target! It’s quite a special moment, fireworks shoot across the display and the smugness spreads with the vibrations of the device. You have taken on a daily target and won, you rock.
I didn’t realise just how target driven I am until I got my own tracker. I was confident that I was hitting that 10,000 steps a day target easily. It seems that for the most part I was, but on those wet days where it isn’t so easy to be out and about, it seemed there was room for improvement.
Maybe I’ve become a bit of a slave to the tracker and the reward of seeing my progress being monitored. But in doing so, I have found that it means I am more enthusiastic to hop up and go, especially with the kids. On top of the daily steps goal, there are also other targets you can set for stairs climbed, active minutes etc. and if you manage to tick all those boxes there are extra stars flashing for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing….
So in trying to hit those magic numbers, I have found that with the kids I am more amenable to certain suggestions and requests that I think is making me a better mother.
- If we can walk rather than drive, we walk. We were already fairly good at walking to school, local shop, playground but now I’m extra conscious to grab the buggy rather than the car keys.
- Chase the kids around on the green? Bring it on!
- If someone wants to go the long way to look at buses, it’s all good! Buses and steps!
- If somebody has left their shoes upstairs, no problem! A quick sprint up the stairs adds both steps and stairs climbed! And when you hand over the shoes, the other one says their teddy is on their bed – no eye rolling or moaning. Back up the stairs with me!
- Dancing with the kids adds active minutes and steps 🙂 Shake your money maker!
- I make a bigger effort to get out myself for a longer walk regularly, which is not only good from an exercise point of view but also a good opportunity for some head space.
- I go to bed earlier now I am more aware of my sleep patterns courtesy of the sleep tracking function. What parent isn’t going to benefit from more sleep?
- There aren’t any medals in the parenting arena, so I will take what little round of applause I can get. If that’s from the fitness tracker, so be it.
- All the above add up to a more active lifestyle, and that’s only going to make me feel better.
My seven year old is fascinated by the Fitbit, so much so that I got her a simple kids version online. While she was showing her friends, someone accidentally reset her daily steps taken….. So what did she do? Ran laps around the green to get them back!
With Christmas looming I’m sure there will be many mamas opening gifts of fitness trackers; I’ll keep an eye out for you ploughing around the park on St. Stephen’s Day while clocking your step count 🙂