It’s fun getting a bit fitter with my Fitbit
- Credit: PA
I've discovered a new entertainment system. I can't put it down, I'm constantly checking my stats and trying to beat my high scores. I'm on it before I go to bed, as soon as my eyes open I'm there again. I've even been witnessed sneakily checking my progress at work. Unlocking achievements, earning badges, it's all completely interactive – my every movement is followed and registered. No, I've not gone back to the remote system of the original Wii, nor have I left my lounge a landscape of smashed lamps and bruised elbows by purchasing a Kinect.
I've got a Fitbit.
There was never any doubt that my body was built for comfort, not agility. You could politely refer to it as 'robust'. But I'm active, I'm on my feet all day and can even get a decent bit of speed up when evading the odd escaped farm animal. I needed another push, however – the halcyon days of my early twenties are over. The days that meant not really needing to watch what I ate and having a reasonably active job kept the scales at a permissible level. Now I'm on 30's doorstep (well, give me two more months) and my metabolism has well and truly flown the nest.
Now, I love fitness games. Before, you could regularly see me swinging my hips to Zumba on the Wii, or flailing my limbs like a panicked gibbon to any of the Just Dance incarnations. But the problem with these is a) finding the time, and b) they're so very stationary. You need to boot up the console, stick the game in, wait for it to load, choose your song or workout program (Just Dance 4's Cheerleader Boot Camp being a personal favourite) and go from there. My enthusiasm to get up and go lasts roughly 45 seconds, it's a very small window. Having a Fitbit capitalises on this, it makes me so much more conscious of what I'm doing.
I've left the activity goals on the default settings, so whilst I utterly smash them on workdays (8000 steps recommended? Try 28,000), my days off don't look quite as impressive. Living in a maisonette pays off when it comes to the 10 flights of stairs recommendation, every time I retrieve something I've left in the hall I'm edging nearer to my goal. And did I mention I live up a hill? Thank you, natural elevation!
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I read that having an activity tracking device doesn't help you lose weight, and I suppose on the face of it, it wouldn't. Anyone can monitor their activity levels without changing them. But I think for those of us who have the right intentions but lack motivation, it really helps. Nowadays I'll be out with Cirrus or Benji, and whereas before I'd just be walking, I've broken into what can only fairly be described as a shambling semi-jog. But I'm trying. And my heart rate is up and I'm feeling good and the poor dog doesn't know what's happened to his formerly peaceful plod around the woods.
Neglecting a lift to the pub and walking instead because I haven't reached my steps. Going to the end of the footpath instead of taking the shortcut back home. Passing over the biscuits and chocolates at work because, why undo the benefit of these great little habits I'm getting into?
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And look, I unlocked the Trail Shoe 30k badge! The Fitbit has tapped into the high-scoring geek in me – and now I've talked it up, it's my day off, I'm only at 3020 steps and Cheerleader Boot Camp is calling...