Sunday, August 30, 2015

It All Counts

I remember asking my doc if there was a "best" time of the day to get some exercise in and if doing multiple shorter duration periods vs. one really long duration was better - he just looked at me and said "it all counts".

Being a walker with a desk job, I carve out different times of the day to go take a walk or do the steps in the parking garage.  And my lunch typically includes a 30 minute walk.  My very unscientific method to figuring out mileage was basically calculating mileage at an average walking pace of 15 minutes per mile when I "went" for a walk.  I was pretty confident with that formula even knowing sometimes my pace would be faster and sometimes slower.  I've put in enough miles to feel confident in the 15 minute mile average.  However, I really only measured when I "went" for walk.  What about all the walking when I did not "go" for a walk?  Doesn't it all count?

It appears that I have been short changing myself on daily mileage.

Last week I bought a fitbit Charge HR.  This little wrist band is amazing!

Besides keeping track of every step I take, it also displays heart rate, distance, calories burned, and # of stars climbed.  Oh yeah, it also shows the time.  And since it's sync'd with my PC and iPad, it uploads the data for tracking daily amounts.

Now if I was training for the Olympics, this would not be the device I would use.  But for someone who just wants to get out there and be active and ballpark track it, this seems to be a pretty good device.

So now instead of keeping track of the walking miles just when I go for a walk, I'm tracking it all.  It all counts.

The technology used in this device is pretty interesting.  Being on your wrist it somehow has to "know" when you have taken a step.  It is impressive that it does, for the most part, know when you have taken a step.  Granted, it is not as accurate as a GPS device or even a footpod, but for the convenience of just having to strap it on, just like you would strap on a watch, I like it!

Another thing that I am intrigued with is  the counting of stairs, more specifically, how does it do it?  Well, it has a altimeter in it!  It measures atmospheric pressure.  Atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation so it calculates elevation gain based on the reduction in atmospheric pressure.  It registers a floor when it detects continuous motion combined with an elevation gain of about 10 feet (average floor height in most residential structures).  I did test this by riding up five floors in an elevator - it did not register it.

My average distance walked when just counting "when I went for a walk" was typically in the 25-30 miles per week, has been for quite awhile.  However, this week, with the fitbit Charge HR, it's at just about 75 miles (disclaimer: I did do more walking this week as a by-product of having this new "toy" and also from joining the online fitbit community, I was invited to a weekly challenge against nine other fitbit-ers to a friendly competition to see who can walk the most steps during the work week).  However, it was a lot of walking that I have not been counting.  But since it all counts, I will start counting it towards my 10,000 mile goal.  Maybe this means I can retire sooner!   : )


  1. Hooray for technology actually working for you!

  2. Hey there ... I have had my fitbit Charge HR for a while now and I LOVE it!! I have upped my activity by about 30% or more. Glad to hear you are part of the fitbit community.