I do enjoy my workouts… the second they are over. Granted, there is a definite sense of pride and "I did good for my body today" feeling that follows a good workout. But somehow, that sense of achievement holds no reserve to motivate me for any subsequent workout. I'm on my own. Left to my own device, I would probably never exercise. And really, I only workout because I have to. I wish that I were one of those that could get lost in the endorphin rush, able to move past the pain. But no such luck. My neurotransmitters just ask me, Is this over yet?
We are all aware that, as we get older, we tend to get more sedentary and thus need to exercise more. And, with my current lifestyle of sitting at a computer 10+ hours a day, it's not by getting coffee refills that I'll fit in those 10,000 steps a day .
Which is why I was so excited to get my Fitbit about 8 months ago. The Fitbit is a sleek lil' fitness and sleep tracking device that monitors daily physical activity via steps taken, distance traveled and sleep quality. I loved the concept of having a device that would keep me attuned to my actual level of activity. Some concrete measurement - besides a scale - to will remind me that I need to get off… my chair.
Fitbug I enjoyed the Fitbit tremendously, but lost it within a few weeks. It just fell off and I was crushed when I couldn't find it. I was pondering the idea of getting a replacement when I ran into a new friend who works for Fitbug and lent me a unit to try.
I love it. And though there are many similarities between the Fitbit and the Fitbug units, but the 'Bug (we like to call it that for short) is also very different:
- First off, though the Bug's design is not quite as sleek as the Fitbit's, the large display screen shows 8 days of progress and all the details of activity. Even has the time and an alarm (you know, to remind you to hit the pavement). And Bug does have three different form of attachments to ensure that the unit WILL stay attached. I still have it!
- The Bug is a very accurate device. It is calibrated to one's stride and weight for a personalized reading. Through an algorithm, it differentiates walking from aerobic activity and measures caloric burn and distance accordingly.
- The Bug presents itself as a software program first, and a device, second. Which is why there is a membership fee as opposed to a one-time device price. The activity data accumulated in the Bug can be uploaded to the online interface. It's on this "coaching" website that users can set goals for activity, weight and monitor food intake over time. They can also compete in virtual walking leagues and challenges (like crossing Antarctica, "Great Walk of China", etc.). Profiles let you manually track body measurements, VOX, heart rate, BMI, etc.
- I was questioning why the Bug was not a Bluetooth device. The fact is that a Bluetooth device could easily be interfered with in an environment - like a gym - where many such devices are present. Makes sense.
- The Fitbug program is not about diets nor is it about outrageous exercise programs. It's simply about awareness of food intake and physical activity, which in itself creates the framework for positive results. It's all very achievable.
Aside from these attributes, I learned that the Fitbug's true mission is to keep the population fit on a larger scale. Indeed, in the UK as well as here in the US, Fitbug proposes a program to businesses of all types and sizes to transform the workplace into a healthy place to work. Employees using the device are found to be making positive lifestyle changes, but more interestingly this program has allowed certain health insurers to actually provide a rebate in cash (wow!) in return for using the unit. It's a smart preventative measure with measurable results that is a win-win-win for insurers, the employers and employees.
Technology has provided us with many versions of devices for fitness tracking. You may have seen Jenny Craig's new MetabolicMAX program which works with a similar device, this one worn as an armband (that's a smart program for them to get into). There are also many fun smartphone apps and related devices to play with, such as the fisica by Wahoo Fitness . This little device connects to the iPhone to measure heart rate and stride. Fun, but it's really meant for the more serious athlete. A little bulky to wear to the office just to count strides, huh?
In the end, weight management is all about exercise and calories in and calories out. But physical activity affects sleep, metabolism, mood, mental sharpness… I'm in for some of that too.
So now, I park further so that I can walk further, always take the stairs and actually relish running errands because my Bug will be accumulating those steps and translating them into calories burned. And so, I thank the Bug for making me aware and motivated get a move on.