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Measuring fitness or increasing obsessive behaviour?

Posted on July 21, 2015 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Rob Ficiur
I have long known that exercise and diet are the first steps to a healthy lifestyle. While I believe in exercise, I often did not do it for two reasons.  irst, I said I was busy, which is the excuse of all excuses because we find time for what we really want to do.  Second, I often overestimated the exercise I did do.  I am sure that walking to the car twice was a day’s worth of exercise…” I would rationalize. Then I got a Fit Bit and I could lie to myself no more.
My wife got me a Fit Bit for Christmas. Normally our family members like it when we utilize the gifts we give them. In the last seven months, as I have begun to use the Fit Bit to measure the number of steps I do each day, I think she regrets that I use the devise as faithfully as I do. It seems that a Fit Bit can easily go from a device that tells us how many steps you have made or how many active minutes that day – to an obsession. Is a habit an obsession? I guess it depends if you are wearing the Fit Bit or observing the person who measures his / her day by the numbers on the screen. 
My primary goal has been to walk 10,000 steps a day; my secondary goal is to have 30 active minutes daily. When you hit your main target your wrist brace buzzes. That two second buzz is like your reward for all that hard work. The main strength of the Fit Bit is you know how well you are doing at reaching your specific goals. Sometimes making the few extra steps can make a Fit Bit user do some unusual things.  
One day after I look at my Fit Bit and saw I had only 300 steps to go before I reach my goal. Out loud I said “I will be right back I have to check on the yard. In the last thirty years I have never gone out at the end of the day to check on the yard – but I had to that day because I had to get my 10,000steps and then the buzz… (is this like addicting?) 
While taking pictures in Waterton one evening, I realized that only needed 100 more steps. Since it was dark outside, what can I do to casually make 100 steps? Oh, I can get a picture of the Prince of Wales hotel from across the lake, which will be a great picture. Then I casually explained what I was about to do, “ Dear, I am going to go take a fabulous picture of the hotel at night.” After I was about 1/10 of the way to my photo site, my Fit Bit buzzed. Okay, I hit my goals, who needs a picture of some old hotel?  There is not enough light, so it would probably be blurry. Erratic changes in behavior can occur when the daily goal is reached. 
Not wearing my Fit Bit for a day feels like a lost day. We got the much anticipated call about a about a coming grandson at 2:00 a.m. As we rushed to Lethbridge in the middle of the night my Fit Bit lay at home charging. Everything that day turned out great. In my unbiased opinion that grandson is just about as cute a baby as anyone will ever see. When I realized I left my Fit Bit at home, I felt like I had lost a day. I walked many steps in and out of hospital and they were not recorded. Would my heart be able to utilize the exercise if my Fit Bit did not record the number of steps? I think so. 
In June my Fit Bit life hit a minor crisis when my wrist brace broke. Now what was I going to do? It took me more than a week to find a replacement wrist bracelet. During the week before I got a new Fit Bit bracelet, I used the smaller bracelet that came with the devise. My Fit Bit was a medium, so putting on a small (which should have been called a too small) meant pulling as hard as I could to make the extra small bracelet fit my medium- sized wrist. Who cares if I cut off circulation to my arm and wrist, I need to count the number of steps I did today.  
In the end there is one good thing and one not so good thing about my Fit Bit experience. It is great that I have a measureable goal that I can tract each day. On the negative side I have learned that in order to walk 10,000 steps (or do 30 active minutes) per day you have to do something. Casually sitting around won’t work to improve your fitness.  
Recently I met another Fit Bitter who told me that if you clap a lot the device will count the claps as steps. On days when I am short steps it might be easier to clap than go out and actually exercise. Will people think my behavior is odd if I start clapping at nothing? I would think a person to be peculiar for clapping at nothing. Sounds like exercise will involve work no matter how I do it.

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