The Fitbit, family and I

Jog Derbyshire’s Lucy is a self-confessed Fitbit fanatic. As the fitness tracker has played a large part in helping the team in the Diabetes UK 1 Million Steps challenge, Lucy explains how it helps her keep that step count up.

A change in lifestyle

For most of my 20s I worked as a personal trainer and class instructor. Teaching more than 15 classes a week I was always on the go and had an abundance of energy. When I hit my 30s a combination of having my second child, less time to workout and a change of direction in my career meant my lifestyle changed. The very active person I once was slowly but surely got more and more sedentary. Three years down the line I began to feel very conscious that I was not being as active as I should be.

Although I still went to the gym when I could and regularly (ish!) ran I felt on the days I hadn’t scheduled in any specific training I was doing very little and it played on my mind.

The introduction of the Fitbit

Christmas 2016 saw the first Fitbit in our household. My husband, having listened to my concerns thought it could be the answer. And he was right.

After inputting all my details my Fitbit told me my daily target was 10,000 steps. I had no idea what my average daily steps were, it wasn’t something I had ever monitored before. In the days which followed I made huge efforts to go on long walks (two hours plus) and extra jogs. I almost refused to sit down as I was determined to crank those steps up. I was hitting more than 25,000 every day without fail. This was all well and good over the Christmas period when I was off work, the children were off school and we had nowhere to be. It was only when normal life resumed after the holidays I realised how easy it was to not move very much at all – a huge wake up call.

Encouraging me to keep moving

Having something attached to me acting as a constant reminder that I should be moving more encouraged me to start making changes. Mostly small ones such as not taking the car on small journeys, doing the school run on foot come rain or shine, parking at the furthest point away from the supermarket and suggesting a walk with friends rather than staying in for a cuppa. None of these things were unachievable, they weren’t particularly time consuming but they did make a big difference to my step count and soon became normality.

I found all the other features on the Fitbit really interesting. Although I knew increased exercise improves sleep and lowers resting heart rate, to see it analysed on a day to day basis was really useful and I could soon see clear patterns in my habits. Aiming to hit the active minutes encourages me to do at least 30 minutes of sustained activity every day be it a brisk walk, a jog or even power cleaning the house.

Getting the family involved

It wasn’t long before my husband caught the bug and brought himself a Fitbit, shortly followed by my teen daughter. Can it get competitive? Yes! But it’s fun and it’s healthy. If it motivates us as a family to get out and get active that has to be a good thing. We all support each other to hit our daily goals. We tend to check in with each other before tea about how our daily steps are going. If a walk is required then that’s what we’ll do rather than crashing in front of the TV or getting the laptops out. Our youngest daughter, aged four always comes along too so while we are keeping ourselves healthy we are instilling lifelong healthy habits for her.

Of course, we all have days where life simply gets in the way and no matter what the 10,000 steps cannot be achieved. One of these days every now and then and I don’t feel any effect but a few of these days in a row and wow I can tell the difference. My sleep patterns worsen, my heart rate creeps up, my energy levels drop and perhaps the most noticeable of all my mood plummets and I reset to ‘approach with caution’ status.

Why I’m never demotivated by the Fitbit

As with everything else, the Fitbit is what you make of it. I could look at my steps and feel disappointed that I haven’t hit my target and give up. Instead I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to be more active and it truly does motivate my family and I to do more. I am a self-confessed Fitbit addict. I love the feeling of going to bed with all goals hit and the Fitbit flashing green on my screen. For me the Fitbit is a motivator, a reminder and a gadget that brings our family together.

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