“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step…”

The Pros and Cons of Fitness Trackers

A few weeks ago I’m at the dinner table with some family and friends and notice everyone but me is wearing a Fitbit. Of course, eventually someone asks why I don’t wear one and my husband gives me “the look.” If you’re not married, this is sort of a panicked, wide-eyed signal begging you not to share your views in an unpleasant manner. I am anti-Fitbit.

Even though I see some positives to fitness trackers, the negatives far outweigh them. I used to wear one and people have actually asked me how many steps I take in a given day! None of your damn business! I think that’s like asking someone what their salary is or how much money they have in the bank. Just rude. Plus, I don’t want “the man” knowing my activity level. (For those of you who don’t know “the man,” he’s ubiquitous big business, oppressive government, an annoying nosey neighbor – all rolled into one. Basically the Orwellian “Big Brother.”) Some crazy people have even asked me to join step challenges with them. I’m not going to compete with anyone over how many steps I take in a given day. If I want to lay around on the couch all day eating bonbons and take only enough steps to go to the bathroom and back, that’s my business.

Plus fitness trackers are typically ugly and uncomfortable. You can try to fancy-up that band all you want, but it’s not gonna look good.

I admit that every now and then I’ll still put one on if I’m expecting an important call. Often I don’t hear my cell phone or even feel the vibrations in my pocket. So it is convenient that the Fitbit will vibrate when a call or text comes in, even though I can’t read the tiny screen without my reading glasses…If you haven’t guessed, I’m going to be 50 this year. In general I can’t stand wearing one.

A Doctor’s Perspective

What does my husband, the doctor, think? He wears an Apple Watch every day. He loves knowing his steps. He also thinks the heart rate monitor can be useful. But he cautions people that taking 10,000 steps in a day might mean you’re active, but it does not replace exercise. He also loves to remind me that “the man” already knows everything I’m doing because of my cell phone. I disagree, because I don’t carry my cell phone with me all day, and a Fitbit is on your wrist until you remove it. I leave my phone around the house or in the car frequently. “The man” may think I’m lying around, but in reality I’m busy, busy, busy, stepping all over the place.

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