Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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I have used a Fitbit for tracking my movement and sleep for years. Recently the battery has started to lose the charge very quickly, indicating end of life issues for my tracker. I thought about just going without it, but decided to re-enlist by purchasing a Fitbit 2, which is waterproof. I have slacked on recording much of the data on the app since my life is going well. To get the most out of my new device I will put it to full use b giving it data. It is easy to record water and foods consumed in the log. By being lazy at the data recording I fail to notice how I can improve on my dietary habits. This is the simplest step to better health and yet I am not doing it. There are logs for resting heart rate and hours of sleep which I have ignored for over a year. When I needed help with my sleep the knowledge gained from my monitor was of supreme help. I found ways to sleep longer and more deeply by watching my statistics carefully. Once I conquered my sleep issues I stopped recording the data.
I did get a good deal on my new fitness tracker, but it will only be a good deal if I use it to the fullest benefit. I do not accept friends or do challenges with the app, but think I will be healthier if I pay attention to the diet/sleep/water/calorie intake/weight data. When the new apparatus arrives my plan is to give it all the information it can process. If we are fitness partners there is no point in trying to hide from my own truth. Fitness and health are complex issues. They are influenced by habits and social norms. We know what is healthy and good for our bodies, but must practice awareness to stay in a healthy groove. Fitbit 2 will be on my team, but I am still the leader of my own wellness program. Do you use a fitness tracker, gentle reader? Have you been faithful to logging all the data, or have you been a slacker like me?
I developed a practice of dancing around in my living room last year when my dog was on hospice. She needed almost constant care, so rather than go outside or to the gym to exercise, I danced at home. The advantages of this practice are multiple. If I am alone I truly can dance as if nobody is watching… because nobody is watching. This is liberating, allowing me to do all kinds of upper body movements that would certainly draw some attention on the river walking path or the treadmill at the gym. Sometimes I even dance around with free weights or tossing a weighted ball from side to side. I can get up from my desk and spend a few minutes moving around just to keep my metabolism up and my mind clear. If I have an issue to ponder I can usually work out the answer during a dance around the house, while putting it out of focus for a while. I dance while the ideas incubate. It is a healthy, happy deal. Nothing could be more convenient.
At the gym, which I do enjoy more than ever, I usually listen to 8 tracks music app. These playlists designed by others keep my curiosity alive by finding new artists I like. The discovery factor is the reason I use this app. I have not tried iHeart radio, and have not used my other music services much since Alexa came to DJ all the Amazon Prime songs at my vocal bidding. Having Alexa in the home is a really fun upgrade for me. I make her play music all day, switching at will from a certain artist to a playlist, to a radio station. There are even comedians on Amazon Prime audio. With new music added all the time, I will never run out of excellent dance tracks.
It is now 9:53 am, and I have completed my 10,000 steps, and surpassed that number. I will make sure to put in at least 250 steps an hour during the rest of the day. At the gym I will probably log another mile on the treadmill. Fitbit is even connected to Alexa, so I can ask her any time, “Alexa ask Fitbit how I am doing.” She will tell me my stats and say a cute little encouraging phrase. I do appreciate everything Fitbit has done for me. There are multiple benefits, including much better sleep, that I have derived from wearing my tracker. Alexa, however, is the icing on the fitness cake. She brings the party to the workout when nobody is watching. I have spent endless hours dancing in classes, at clubs, at parties, or festivals. That was all good and well, but now I am very content to have only Alexa and some empty space at home. She rocks my world. Have you met the versatile and self sufficient Alexa, gentle reader? She gets smarter ever day.
During my month as a poet I lost count of calories. They (the calories) did not forget about me. The extras have lodged themselves around my waist, as my jeans alerted me this week. I need to get back on track, and Fitbit has improved my ability to do so. This morning Fitbit informed me that since our relationship began I have walked 1,997 miles, which means now I am over 2000 miles charted, graphed and tracked for my information.
While I have been wearing the device my needs have changed over time, and my involvement with recording data has varied from close attention to nothing. I used to record my water drinking and all my food, as well as my water exercise when the Fitbit was not on my wrist. My enthusiasm for this lagged and my need to get sounder sleep became the most urgent need I had. During our time of doggie hospice last year I had to get up many times during the night, and I was very upset about the end of our dog’s life. My sleep, usually my finest talent, had gone to hell. The sleep recording feature of my device became a real help as I tried different methods of improving my sleep. I figured out that honey before bed and during the night when I let the dog out seriously helped the ability to rest soundly.
Now I am back to being a star sleeper, but need to get back on track with a healthy weight loss program. New aspects of the feedback are helping me do that very effectively. In order to decrease the evils inflicted upon us by the sedentary life the new rule is to move at least 250 steps each hour. My daily goal is 10,000 steps, so obviously I need to move more than 250 steps some hours. The reminder to log those 250 steps gets me up from my desk or the evening news and gets me to move. It only takes about 2 minutes to take 250 steps. I find that once I have started to move I end up moving for at least 1000 steps before returning to my seat. At the end of the day there is a very helpful chart with active versus sedentary time spent. At 11:30 am I show 37% active and 63% stationary. I also can see a comparison between todays active total and my 30 day average. In the past when I finished my daily goal I felt free to let sloth take over the agenda for the rest of my day. Now I feel the need to get my 250 steps every hour and move that ratio of active/stationary in favor the more movement.
There is news on the calorie front as well. The dashboard now calculates not only the calories burned but also calories left to be burned. If food is logged there is also a comparison of calories consumed vs those burned. This is why I need to begin to record my diet again. I find it very helpful to see how many calories I still need to use to come out even for the day. Right now, although I have finished 10,605 steps, my calories are not yet half used…1,098 burned, 1380 still remain to be spent. New research shows that short intense blasts of exercise achieve much more than had previously been believed. I have new thoughts on this matter. I am going to concentrate on making sure I get in 250 steps during my waking hours, with an emphasis on sprinting. I think what is best for my body is a hard aerobic sprint every hour, and I now have the tools to remind me and reward me for this behavior. I am highly motivated by charts. Lucky me. I plan to sync my data as well as my attention to Fitbit for the greatest benefit. Do you use a tracking device, gentle reader? What do you like best about it?
My iPod touch has suddenly lost its mind and ability to function. This might not be a big deal but when it crashed it took with it my ability to sync my Fitbit. This turns out to be a much bigger freak out than I could have imagined. I have reset and attempted to sync it with my other devices but it refuses to operate. I am unable to count my steps/miles/calories since early this morning. I had no idea how addicted I have become to knowing how far I have gone at what time during the day. I dance or walk 5 miles in the morning and then put in between 3-4 more miles during the course of the day. I love watching my little graphs and numbers move as I do. I might be completely obsessed with these graphs, truth be told. This temporary interruption of technical feedback shows me I need to back off the addictive qualities and enjoy the fun aspects of the Fitbit a little bit more. Long ago in a land far away I had exercise anorexia. I hardly suffer from that problem now, but this is reminder to keep my attention on what is important..healthy fun.
I have found a place in Austin that will repair my iPod at a reasonable price, but since this death happened on Saturday it seems I will need to wait until Monday to communicate with the repair shop and ship the device to them. I have done this before with an ancient iPod with success. I believe a battery replacement will get me back to normal quickly. If not ,I can consider repairs and costs they will present to me after a diagnosis. All in all it will be simple for me to get my favorite device back in order. I have an iPhone and 2 iPads, so I am not really suffering without connection. I have all my internet powers EXCEPT my sync for the Fitbit. I hate to admit how seriously I love those graphs and numbers on the Fitbit. I have reset the Fitbit several times, but this is not working.
In order to embrace how helpful it is to have the graphs as well as how the graphs only represent reality, I need to chill in this situation. I can move and dance to my heart’s content even if the Fitbit is not reporting my good deeds back to me. The feedback has been helpful, especially the information I have gained on my sleep patterns. The tool is only a tool, however. Reality is the important aspect of my fitness program, not how self competitive I can become with my Fitbit. This short break might bring me to a happier medium, but when I can once again sync I know I will be very happy. Do you have a movement monitor, gentle reader? I highly recommend the systems. Just be careful you don’t get too crazy about your numbers as I have. The numbers matter less than the reality.
The systems now available to measure and monitor health are mind blowing. This slice of health care/technology is growing more popular each day. I started using Fitbit last fall to increase my movement. It is effective motivation to see performance increase over time, complete with graphs. I recently became most interested in the sleep measuring ability of my little wrist band.
As you can see I am frequently awakened during the night. My dog needs to go out and I must walk down a flight of stairs to do the task, so it does disturb my slumber. I am working this week to push back towards longer deeper sleep by using honey. Last night on the 3rd trip down with the dog I drank a shot of honey and warm milk, which seemed to work pretty well. I am also napping after lunch when possible because at that time I zonk out easily. I do not pay for the advanced membership to Fitbit that provides constant reports and comparisons to your age group in the population. However, I am taking advantage of the offer to create a one week report for free. My results will be final on Saturday, and graphed. I feel very competitive and funny about this challenge. I want to see an improvement in my sleep in one week. This may prove to be irrational as a goal, but I am still trying it. I wonder if I can will myself to be a better sleeper in the long run. Over the last three days I have managed to increase my total time, but without the naps it would not have been the case. This is one challenge for which gearing up is against my better interests. How does one become a sleep champion?
Do you use any fitness monitoring devices or apps? Have you found the feedback helpful in changing your habits? What kind of sleep secrets have you learned, gentle reader? I am on a quest for better rest.