Date:March 10, 2014
As attorneys, our jobs can be rather sedentary and, as we know, being sedentary can be adverse to our health. About a year ago, I started using a FitBit. This little electronic device tracks how many steps I take, how many FitBitmiles I walk, how many flights of stairs I climb, and how many calories I burn each day. The information syncs with a computer program that allows me to enter the foods I’ve eaten, assigning calories consumed compared to calories burned. It is the ultimate in accountability.
The FitBit device is about the size of a double-A battery and attaches to your clothing. You want to make sure to attach it securely, so it doesn’t fall off and get lost. In the newest model, the device is incorporated into an armband – a solution, but I have found it to be a little difficult to fasten. The FitBit is easy to set up and comes with a USB plug-in that wirelessly syncs to a computer or a smart phone.
The program uses a dashboard to tell you how well you are doing (or not). You select daily goals for how many steps and miles you hope to travel. Then you receive emails and text messages letting you know how well you are doing and how close to your goals you are at that point in your day. You also get weekly summaries letting you know both your most active and least active days. On week days, I have noticed that I take about 3,600 steps per day while at the office. This is roughly one-third of my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I also track about 5,000 steps per workout session at the YMCA.
I strive to be active at home while making dinner and doing housework. So, by the end of most weekdays, I have met my goal. On the weekend, it is a mixed bag. If I go to the gym or for a hike, I can usually meet my goal. But if not, I have likely been a bit sedentary, working on projects that keep my step count down.
Activities like downhill skiing record very little steps, whereas hiking records many flights of stairs. Being active is a daily endeavor of mine, and the FitBit helps keep me honest about it. Then, there are my FitBit “friends.” It is a bit of a daily competition to log more steps than friends and family members (including my husband)!
This competition keeps me moving if at the end of the day my step count is low, for instance. I often jog on a small trampoline while watching the news or my favorite evening program. I have gone outside for a walk at 10 p.m. to get the steps needed to be competitive with my friends and family.
Sometimes I get emails from a friend inquiring about my “couch potato” status or I will send an email wondering if my friend’s FitBit ran away. I consider this all good fun that is great for my health. You can buy the FitBit online at FitBit.com or at local stores for between $50 and $130, depending on the version. After using it for a full year, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some motivation to be more active.