Sunday, August 23, 2015

We Walk

There is no reason that you should care about this, but right now, at 10:37PM, I have walked 11,066 steps today, the equivalent of 5.14 miles.  I have climbed 31 flights of stairs.  My resting heart is 59 beats per minute, though right now I'm at 71.  Today, I have spent 2 hours and 7 minutes in "Fat Burn," but a mere 2 minutes in "Cardio."

I slept last night for 7 hours and 3 minutes.  Though I wasn't really awake at any time, I was "Restless" 16 times for a total of 31 minutes.

Welcome to the world of FitBit, of Jawbone, of the Apple version of the same kind of exercise digital record keeping.  I have to say, it is a world that I enjoy being a part of.

Late last May, I bought my wife and I FitBit HRs for our 32nd wedding anniversary (As well as a related joint Spotify account).  Since then, we have rarely looked back.  Instead, we walk.

There is something silly about wearing something on your wrist that keeps track of your various metabolic functions.  There are probably actuaries somewhere receiving the data to update their projections of when people like me are going to die.

Still, it is a world that I have quickly come to love.  Why?  Because we walk.  Tonight we circled the block twice, racking up 1000 steps each time--me, wife, and dog--to our mutual benefit.  Without the FitBit, we never walked the neighborhood.  Now, we walk it all the time.  It sits on the side of a ridge and, as such, offers ups and downs, hills and flat spaces, huffs and puffs sometimes and easy conversations sometimes.

When you have a FitBit and if you can get into it, then you are always, at least in the back of your mind, a little conscious of how many steps you are walking.  The goal, at least right now, is 10,000 steps for me, about 20% more for my wife who has shorter legs.  For both of us, that comes out to about 5 miles.  And, frankly, you don't know if you are walking anywhere close to 5 miles a day until you strap on a device that tells you that you aren't, at least not in a "drive by" city like Chattanooga.  If we lived in New York City, it would be pretty us.

But for us, we have to be pretty intentional about getting our mileage, whether it means looking forward to cutting the grass or walking down the hall to the drinking fountain a few more times than usual or taking a few spins around a shopping mall while the rest of the family actually shops.  Wearing a Fitbit and embracing it means discovering new worlds in the endless quest to walk enough.  Would I have been on Chattanooga's Riverwalk last Saturday otherwise?  No.  Would I relish helping my daughter move in to a second story apartment otherwise?  No.

Wearing a FitBit or similar product turns drudgery and distance into a chance to meet a goal and to feel good about that goal and to see, over time, tangible results from that goal.

There is a temptation, as a friend of mine succumbed to this summer, to dismiss this as a fad.  "There's no way that you are wearing that thing a year from now," he said.  Which I get.  Anytime something enters the picture that makes healthier living relatively easy (or difficult), it is a perceived threat to all who aren't doing it.  It is a financial stressor to the spouse whose better half suddenly wants one.  It is First World activity, another game, another gadget for those who can afford.

Still, I evaluate it on different terms.  Now we walk.  Before we didn't, not with this intentionality or record-keeping or distance.  Now we keep up with something together that we didn't; we share our mutual goals.  Now we look for active days and are disappointed when rain or work keeps us from that.  I've got no complaints that a little electronic device is responsible for those changes.

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