Saturday, January 16, 2016

On becoming a robot (Life with a Fitbit)

I began wearing/using a Fitbit the week after Christmas.  A few co-workers and I were having a discussion on step counters and we concluded that at some point in the future, humans will become more like robots with the ability to program themselves to attain a certain level of fitness.

Here are the daily fitness goals set by Fitbit:
  1. 10,000 steps
  2. 5 miles
  3. 30 active minutes
  4. 8 hours of sleep
You can, of course, change those goals to your own liking.  There are many, many items you can track (exercise, caloric intake, weight loss) with your Fitbit - I've been using the basics for now.

My office is located approximately 1 mile from South Station in Boston and I have two options on how to commute there:  walk or take the Silver Line.  Here's the thing - I've always refused to even consider a job that requires two forms of public transportation.  One form of public transportation, in my mind, is more than enough.  Over my career, I've had recruiters try to sell me tax positions in Cambridge.  "But you just have to hop on the Red Line after you get off your train at South Station."  And what happens when the Red Line is delayed?  And what about giving myself enough time at night so I don't miss my commuter train, which is on a schedule and doesn't care if the Red Line is delayed.  No, no, no. 

My employer moved me to this location so it's not as if I had the choice to refuse.  Well, I could have but that would have left me without a job.  I'm trying to make the best of it and see the distance as an opportunity for exercise.  So I walk.  Every day.  The day there was an icy rain soaking me because apparently umbrellas are useless, I walked.  The morning it was 9 degrees, I walked.  I'm still committed to running three times a week as well.  I figured between the walking and the running, that I was doing okay.

Here's what I've learned these past few weeks with the Fitbit:


Normal workday - On a normal workday where I am dropped off/picked up at the train station at home (I occasionally walk home in warmer weather) and walk to and from my office in Boston with no other major exercise, I score okay.  I should add that after discovering that a co-worker was exiting the elevator at a lower floor in the morning in order to climb the remaining 6 flights of stairs, I started doing this as well.  Man, stair climbing is no joke.  I'd rather run a mile.

Goal of 10,000 Steps - Fail, but only marginally.  My step count has been falling between 8,300 and 9,300, which is pretty close.

Goal of 5 Miles - Fail.  On average, I hit only 3.5 miles.

Goal of 30 Active Minutes - Pass.  Fitbit will only give you credit after 10 minutes of moderate to intense activity.  I hit between 35-40 minutes which is strictly my commuting walks.  Just a note that I do have to stop and wait for traffic in order to cross streets but those stops aren't long enough to screw up the time.

Workday when I run at night - I easily meet all three fitness goals.

Weekend day when I run - I easily meet all three fitness goals.  On Sunday, I ran two miles and ended up walking about a half a mile between warm up and cool down.  I didn't do that much cleaning as I was busy with laundry and feeling very tired but I ended up accumulating 12,541 steps, 5.74 miles and 44 active minutes.

Weekend day when I don't run - It shouldn't have been but it was a bit surprising to see that if I'm in full cleaning mode, I can hit the same fitness levels as a normal workday.  I'm sure those stats will increase when warm weather returns and we can go outside again.


Not a surprise but I can't meet the goal of 8 hours of sleep during the week.  I need to be up at 6:00 if I want to catch my train so in order to get those 8 hours of sleep, I need to be asleep at 10:00 and not be awake at all during the night.  By nature, I'm a night owl so even when I'm tired, it's difficult for me to go to be early.  I feel the most creative and want to have me time instead, so I procrastinate.  (We usually try to head up for bed by 10:00 so I'm not too far off here.)  Another issue is how I sleep.  Honestly, the only way for me to experience a really good night of sleep is to be in a room by myself with the door shut and a fan on high blocking any and all noise that may occur.

I had what I thought was a really good night of sleep last week.  (I know, only one night.)  I was curious to see what Fitbit had recorded.

And here's what a fairly average night in Sleep Land looks like for me.

Every so often, maybe once every other month, I hit a wall of exhaustion and head off to bed right after I tuck the girls in.  The problem I encounter with this is that I always wake up when Rich comes upstairs.  It's not that he's loud - it's my sensitivity to noise.

Using a Fitbit has been a bit eye opening.  If it wasn't so miserably cold out, I would try to get out more and move but I just can't.  I hate the cold and dealing with it during my commuting walks is more than enough for me.  I do need to work on sleep though.   

1 comment:

thehummingcat said...

Thanks for the review, I used some free shopping points to buy one after doing the math to see if it would be cheaper to buy outright, about $20 difference so used the points. Takes 4 weeks to arrive though, typical.