Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Wearables: Devices & Motivation

In terms of motivation for exercise and all-round wellness, the Fitbit is a great wearable device. You need to bear in mind that my personal exercise motivation was already good; I run 2-3 times (averaging around 15km) per week, I also go to a Pilates class and do a Taekwondo session once a week, swim and play golf 2-3 or times per month, and am generally very active, preferring to walk or cycle to get around where possible and practical. 

However, the Fitbit has given me another boost in terms of measuring my activity and motivating me to do a little more. Targets, reminders, warm-up, workout and chillout functions all add to the overall wellness experience.

Starting with targets, the obvious main target is steps, aiming to complete 10,000 steps per day (not 10,000 per week, as my accountant thought!). But Fitbit can also target daily floors climbed, distance, calories, or minutes active, plus weekly exercise, sleep, and hydration.

My main target is steps, and so it’s great to see this broken down by the hour, with a reminder at 10 minutes to go if you’re below, or close to 250 steps per hour. This gentle nudge is useful to break away from some particularly engaging work, or to walk away from my standing desk and make a couple of phone calls while walking around. Another nice reminder (having set my target sleep time, and normal alarm time) is a buzz to say to wind down in the evening 30 mins before bed… but only on weeknights!

In addition to the reminders, there’s the congratulations messages when a target is achieved… a little chap who jumps up and down when you make your 250 hourly steps, and the fireworks that go off when you reach 10,000.

And for those looking for additional inspiration, there’s Fitstar, a funky little app with Warm It Up, 7 Minute Workout, or 10 Minute Abs sessions, and Relax, with 2 Minute or 5 Minute breathing exercises.

For me, the simple things work well, like being able to see at a glance where I am on a run, in terms of distance and time, rather than having to wait for a voice prompt from my running app. And the simplicity of filling up the circle step counter (and being asked or congratulated by my kids) helps me to be more active, more often.

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