I’ve always heard the advice that walking 10,000 steps every day is really good for your health. Although I’ve worked out at least three times a week for more than 30 years (Body Pump, Zumba, treadmill, etc.), I’m a writer and sit at a computer all day at work. (And until I bought a stand-up workstation for my house, I often sat a few hours at night surfing the Web!)
My Christmas present this year was a Fitbit watchband-like device that records and displays how many steps you’ve walked that day, the distance in miles you’ve walked, the number of flights of steps you’ve climbed (return trips don’t count), the number of calories you’ve burned and the active minutes you’ve had that day. I love it!
The information is also available on your computer in various forms, after loading software included with the device — today’s info, weekly, monthly and annual info – in charts and graphs. The Fitbit syncs with your computer when you place a dongle-like device in the USB port and come within so many feet of the computer when wearing the Fitbit.
You also receive a weekly Fitbit email report with totals for that week, average steps per day, and more.
You can link online with friends who have Fitbits to view each other’s daily step count and send messages of encouragement (or challenges) back and forth. The competitive element is motivating and fun.
After setting various goals – such as 10,000 steps a day and 10 flights of stairs a day – the Fitbit vibrates and flashes a message (10,000!) of triumph when you achieve them. The computer dashboard also flashes some playful graphics (sort of like a fireworks display and smiley faces) that add to your feeling of satisfaction.
Although the Fitbit model I have has been recalled because some users broke out in rashes from the plastic band, other models are available — and a number of companies sell very similar devices.
Try one and let me know what you think…. I’ll read your comments after I pace around the inside of the house a few more times to reach 10,000 steps before I go to bed!
Update Nov. 20, 2014: I still love the Fitbit 10 months later.