Perhaps you surmised (and rightly so) I lost it for good. That's an easy assumption since I wrote often about the losing and the finding of my Fitbit. As it happened, I was on a hike last fall when I pulled over to check my distance on my little moss-green, leaf-sized gadget; not so much to check how far I had gone, but to measure the distance back to my house. When I got back to my house, however, and looked at the waistband of my shorts, my little moss-green, leaf-sized Fitbit was gone. I went back to the area where I had last seen it and started looking around, but you can see my dilemma.
|That speck of green in the middle of this shot is not my little moss-green, leaf-sized Fitbit.|
Then for my birthday, my husband bought me a replacement. (This is not to say he didn't think my fitness instincts should be trusted, he was just trying to be thoughtful). Same little moss-green, leaf-sized Fitbit that I knew, which is to say I knew I would repeatedly suffer the frustration of going out for a long walk only to realize my Fitbit was still tucked into yesterday's shorts, before losing this one for good, too.
What I wanted was the style that stayed secured to my wrist, but I didn't want all the extra features (and price tag) that came with it.
(Dear Fitbit, I don't care about the quality of my sleep and --NEWS FLASH!!--no mother does. Between hungry newborns, night terrors, sick kids, and "oops I wet the bed," sleep quality is not realistic. So please offer versions of your various models that don't start our day by telling us we got a terrible night's sleep--thank you Captain Obvious--but do keep counting all the steps from bed to child's room; from child's room to kitchen; from child's room to washing machine, etc. so at least all moms get a jump start on their day's step totals.)Unable to exchange my Fitbit for one that provided bare-bones data, attached to my wrist, and was less than $100, I did the mature thing and returned it. I was going to continue life without counting every step. Still love that Albert Einstein quote, which is the recovering step hoarder's serenity prayer: "Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted."
Then I got an email from Fitbit (because I'm still logged in despite my little moss-green, leaf-sized gadget turning to compost right about now) to tell me that in fact, not every step does count, not even the steps tracked on their devices. Beginning this month, they now measure "active minutes," to keep step hoarders honest. Steps you take that last less than 10 minutes don't fall into the "active minutes" total. And if we're going to follow the CDC's guidelines for physical activity, only activity that lasts a minimum of 10 minutes is going to do you some good.
What this means for step hoarders: Getting up from your desk to walk to the faucet and refill your water bottle can be counted as steps, yes, but doesn't count toward active minutes. Walking up and down the flight of stairs before you go to bed so you can hit your 10,000 number is a waste of time. All the advice to take the stairs and park farther away? It's bull shit.
Or is it? True, the steps of less-than-10-minutes may not count toward any aerobic or endurance benefits, but I'm still fond of them (I said recovering step hoarder, not recovered step hoarder). In the first fitness tracker post I ever wrote in 2011 (long before Fitbit was a thing) I shared my enthusiasm for the Polar Activity Monitor:
I do believe that the daily tasks of motherhood keep me active and that housework can be exercise. But that was just my opinion. The Polar Activity Monitor now proves it. Take last Monday. No workout. But I did vacuum, tackle four loads of laundry, and scrub blue marker (unsuccessfully) from the carpet. By noon I had taken 12000 steps. By the end of the day, after bus stops and swim lessons and dinner and dishes my steps had accumulated to 20254. Wowza. There was 56 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity recorded on my Polar Activity Monitor, and yet I hadn't officially "exercised." Take that!Ah, there it is, a record of how my obsession with step hoarding began.
I do believe tracking active minutes is a useful tool to measure fitness; it's a solution to the dilemma I once had about whether or not to wear a tracker when I exercise. Exercise is a separate animal from total daily steps. Yet I still think all those non-fitness steps count for something. Those are the steps that keep us from sitting too long (sitting is the new smoking!), that help engage our glutes every time we stand up, that help our circulation, that can lead to who knows what... a chat with your neighbor at the mail box, bumping into your kid in the hallway and getting an impromptu hug, catching sight of an extraordinary sunset.
Sounds like a recovering step hoarder on the verge of a relapse.