New Fitness Strategy: Act as if I had a fitness tracker thingy even though I don’t

fitness-trackers1We’ve all got that friend who goes the extra distance to get those steps tracked on her fitbit or other gadget. That may even be you.  But it’s not me. I can’t quite imagine wearing something that tracks my every move.  I’ve nothing against it, but it’s not a strategy I’m drawn to.

It’s too much information and too much tracking. I mean, I have my Garmin Forerunner 310 info after each run and I hardly ever get around to looking at it. What the heck am I going to do with daily information about how many steps I’ve taken? And yet I know that there are areas where I could get more active.

I had an inspired (if I do say so myself) idea on the weekend that got me taking a few extra steps.  And that was to act as if I was wearing a fitness tracker that recorded my every move. And just that little change kicked in a few new habits.  As part of my temporary relocation, I’m living in a third floor condo instead of a 23rd floor condo.  But I’ve been taking the elevator just because it’s a habit from living on the 23rd floor. Yes, you heard me, I was taking the elevator to the third floor. This is not a thing I would normally do.

And acting as if I had on a fitness tracker, I’ve now stopped taking the elevator up (unless I’m hauling groceries). My new place is a lot closer to the Y.  Like, it’s so close that driving would be silly. But I almost drove a couple of times. Now, with my new strategy in place, driving is out of the question as I consider: what would my friends with fitbits do?

Worried about finding a parking spot closest to the building? Nope, not me! Why not? Because if I had a fitness tracker I would instead be looking for a spot on the outer reaches of the parking lot (forget that I’m driving — it’s just a little too far to walk and still make it to work on time unless I left super early, which no thanks because the mornings are already full enough without adding a 50 minute commute–but yes, I’m aware that the fitness tracker crowd might take that walk–baby steps).

Now, maybe this is just a variation on the old theme of adding steps to your day by doing things like taking the elevator, parking a little further from the door, getting off the bus a stop or two early, and walking over to a colleague’s desk or office instead of sending them an email message.

But in our high-tech world, that simple message doesn’t always sink in.  And if I think in terms of “if I had a fitness tracker…,” somehow that gets me moving.  I’m sure there’s good evidence published somewhere that people with fitness trackers cover more ground than those without.

But I think I’ve hit on a new angle for those of us who like the idea of a motivational kick but perhaps aren’t ready or willing to move into the world of 24 hour tracking. I’m a firm believer in “never say never,” so maybe one day the world of actually tracking my activity will make sense to me. But for now, I can pretend I’m tracking, and that seems to make a difference.

Do you use a fitness tracker? If you do, why do you? If you don’t, why don’t you (and do you think acting as if you did might get you to do a little more?)?

10 thoughts on “New Fitness Strategy: Act as if I had a fitness tracker thingy even though I don’t

  1. Hi there! Before I bought my Fitbit, I solely relied on how much I sweat at the gym. This really gave me the idea of how hard I was working. I bought my Fitbit so I could track my calorie intake, steps in a day, and also my cardio workouts. I love the tracker!

  2. I track my runs and treadmill activities with my wrist accomplice(tomtom wristwatch). It has been an experience because it shows me how i have improved over time.

  3. I did rely on sweat or ‘how I felt’ after a long walk or work out. I bought a fitbit in July and I do like it. I do give myself breaks from it. I take it off for on come weekends, and I also don’t take it to bed on some nights. It’s a good tool, but it’s a tool. Much like my smartphone I am the master of it and not the other way around. I have to hand it to the Fitbit app’s food database-it’s better than Weight Watchers. (IMHO)

  4. I love my fitness tracker! But I love measuring everything, it’s a personality trait. It does get me moving much more, especially at the times when I really need to but don’t want to. I also get more sleep since I started using it. I hadn’t realized how little I was getting some nights.

  5. I never believed in a “fitness tracker” such as a fitbit… I always thought that my steps were just a number and I am active already but after buying the Garmin Vivoactive, I do find myself taking the stairs or the longer distance path. I do enjoy seeing the distance that I covered on foot throughout the day, more so than the actual number of steps. When it comes to calorie counting, I don’t use that nor do I really believe in it. My garmin does not track heart rate from the wrist so it is inaccurate when it is just counting steps and converting it to calories counted without knowing how fast I was walking or running at that time. The “step goal” increases each day if you met your goal the day before or it will decrease if you did not meet the goal, therefore pushing you to be more and more active each day. All in all, I have come to like the tracking ability and always feel so accomplished when I’ve reached my goal!

  6. I don’t use a Fitbit or fitness tracker these days. I have a HR monitor for bike training but didn’t bring it with me to Sydney. The thought of tracking my steps while here, car-free, has been tempting as a sort of science experiment, but I really like your idea– actively searching for ways to increase activity seems more fun to me– sort of a game to play. In fact, my bike commute to work here is short, and I’ve been looking for ways to make it more scenic (and a bit longer). Thanks for the encouragement in your post!

  7. I have a Misfit Shine that I wear on a necklace. I like it, but have lost 2 already, so neck is where it stays. (I liked my FitBit well enough until the band broke within a few months, and the FitBit itself stopped charging.) I like tying my Misfit into MFP to see the trend in my days overall, and I like wearing the tracker because it makes me think about getting in extra steps, or taking the stairs even when I am sore or tired etc. etc. It’s the mindfulness about my movement that works well for me, and I also like the payoff of having the data in graph format.

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