Using Fitness Trackers to Think Outside the Run
Posted on September 15, 2015 | By firstname.lastname@example.org | 48 responses
Today I wanted to talk a little bit about fitness trackers, really to share some thoughts I have had about mine lately. No, it’s not Thursday but who says I can’t think out loud on a Tuesday, right?:) It also happens to be this week’s topic for Tuesdays on the Run.
So back in December I won a Garmin Vivofit from Lindsay’s blog. Of course I was thrilled to win such an awesome giveaway, and really excited to try out a fitness tracker. I probably wouldn’t have bought one on my own, but was really intrigued by them. Rob had been using a Fitbit for several months and he had been more aware of “getting his steps in” once he was monitoring them.
The Vivofit is different in a few ways. First off, it creates a daily goal based on how many steps you usually take in a day. So when I am running a lot, my goal is usually something like 11,000-12,000 steps per day. When I wasn’t running during the spring it was closer to 10,000.
Also, the Vivofit has a red line that appears to remind you to get up and walk around. After one hour of inactivity, the line appears and builds the longer you sit. Once you get up and move around the line will go away.
At first I enjoyed monitoring my steps- especially as I got back into running and was building my mileage. But then I started to get frustrated. The red line symbolized something negative and I didn’t like seeing it. My argument in my mind was that I ran X miles already that day and was past my goal for the day so why should I be told to get up and move around?
It also bothered me that my steps were so low on my rest days. I deserved to rest after all those other days of running!
I was about to give up on wearing it when I finally started to think of the activity tracker in a different way. I had been using it to count my steps which included running, and then allowing myself to sit on my butt the other 14-15 waking hours of the day. Just because I ran far enough to reach my step goal shouldn’t give me permission to not move for the rest of the day. And that red line- well, it was there to help me, not yell at me. I should be getting up and walking around every hour!
I know all the hype lately is about not sitting, but of course this is tough to do. I sit at work, and I am tired after I run and want to lay on the couch.
So what if I started using the Vivofit to monitor my activity outside of running? Maybe I could even stop wearing it for my runs. Those of us who run will most likely get 10,000 steps in on those days. Isn’t it better to spread out our movement throughout the day rather than just cram it all in at once?
I certainly don’t want to allow a device to control how I spend my time, but it could certainly help me to be more active throughout the day. There are so many benefits to moving more, even for those of us who are already getting in our “daily exercise.”
I’ve always noticed that when I sit too long (especially in an uncomfortable chair) my hips get tight. Also, walking around throughout the day helps to keep the blood flowing and reduce soreness. Even better would be to get outside and get some fresh air throughout the day!
Related to all this, but sort of off-topic, is that I have been listening to the Katy Says podcast and just read Move Your DNA. Katy Bowman is a biomechanist and founder of the Restorative Exercise Institute. While my thoughts on this warrant an entire post of their own, the one point Katy makes related to today’s post is that we shouldn’t be in the same position all day long.
So of course I will continue to run as I have been, but maybe it’s worth thinking about how I can move more during the rest of the day. It’s not about burning more calories, it’s about keeping our bodies moving rather than sticking them in the same positions for hours at a time. And if fitness trackers can help us to accomplish this, well than maybe they are just as beneficial to runners.
Do you use a fitness tracker?
Do you move throughout the day, besides the time you set aside for “exercising”?
Do you agree with the benefits of staying active throughout the day?