Is Your Fitness Watch a Friend or Foe?
Do you have one of those wearable fitness devices like a FitBit or Apple Watch? Lord knows there are many, many of them on the market. They track your steps, exercise, heart rate, sleep and some can even take an ECG! Some simply track steps while others can notify you of texts, emails and receive phone calls. Perfect if you can’t spend one second away from your phone! I’m being sarcastic, but really, it’s a mini office on your wrist and sometimes it’s nice to get away.
Personally, I have a Samsung watch. I like it, most of the time. It’s not about the watch itself, it’s really cool and I enjoy wearing it, but my perception of it changes depending on the feedback I get from it. Sometimes I embrace it’s optimistic yet snarky little reminders - “time to move” or my favorite “try standing up.” And I do. I get up to get a drink down in the kitchen or literally run to the bathroom. I also use it as a cue to take an “exercise snack” and run up and down the 3 flights of stairs in my townhouse 3 times - especially if I’m working at the computer that day.
Sometimes I get frustrated by little reminders like “how about a walk?” knowing I just can't get to it that day. Or, I take an evening walk and still fall short of my 10,000 step goal by 2000 steps, it’s 9 pm, I’m tired, and damn sure not going to run up and down the stairs! Or, I go for a walk and realize I don’t have my watch on and think those steps were totally wasted!! Some days I get 17,000 steps and wish they could carry-over to the next day, like minutes on a phone plan. Oh well.
And then there’s the very obvious tan line when I have my watch off . . . too big to conceal with a regular old bracelet.
I’m fortunate that my insurance company pays $20/ month incentive if I either go to the gym, or get 10,000 steps 12 days a month. This seems easy enough, and it usually is, but I hate to admit that I’ve sat shaking my watch in front of the TV if I fall short and it’s nearing the end of the month! I haven't gone as far as putting it on the dog, but then again, she’s the laziest member of the family so that idea is a non-starter.
I also don’t wear mine to track my sleep, intentionally. First of all I charge my battery overnight, but I also don’t want a clunky watch on my wrist when I sleep. I’ve rolled over and got whacked in the head more than once by my partner’s watch! Plus I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had tell me “I thought I was a good sleeper, but my watch says I'm not.” Whose feedback are you going to take? Your body or your watch?
There’s absolutely no right or wrong when it comes to using these devices. The question is: how constructively are you using the information? Does it provide you with actionable accountability or make you stressed and obsessed? Like everything else, it’s an inside job. The vast majority of the time I find mine to provide helpful accountability and a fun way to track my activity, despite the tan line :)
Not only can fitness watches help to hold you accountable, so can coaching. Need help with your goals for living a healthy and joyful life? Let’s talk.
Wishing you all the best,