I have thought about getting a fitness tracker for, oh, years. Mostly I leaned towards a fitbit. Everyone seems to love their fitbits. Somehow I could never quite pull the trigger. I came really close a few times, but I never did buy one.
Early on in my weight loss journey I wore a pedometer (before fitness trackers were really a thing). After I started to run, though, I found it wasn’t hard to get to 10,000 steps most days. My pedometer now gathers dust.
Could your fitness tracker be pushing you too hard?
I don’t have a fitness tracker. No, I went one better: I got a smartwatch, the Garmin Vivoactive. Most of the time I put a lot of thought into buying things. I might have a shopping addiction, but it’s a thoughtful shopping addiction.
Every once in a while something comes along and I just have to have it. Like, yesterday. Anyone old enough to remember Zip drives? That was one of my really impulsive, gotta have it now purchases. And it was great! I used the heck out of my Zip drive.
So I love my Vivoactive, even if it has some quirks and three weeks later I’m still trying to learn its many bells & whistles.
But there is a dark side. The vivoactive will set a step goal for you each day. And it adjusts that goal based on your past activity. So if you go over your goal one day, the watch adjusts the goal up; if you’re under the next day, the watch adjusts the goal down (you can also set your own goal, by the way).
I really like that feature. I like meeting my step goal. Most days it’s not too hard. On days I run I’m always way over the goal. But even on rest days I can usually meet the goal.
And that means I pace a lot more than I used to. The animals really aren’t quite sure what to make of that. Sometimes Gizmo follows me around (he’s the cat, by the way). The watch vibrates when you’ve been sitting too long. And that’s a good thing. Or is it?
Most days I would say it’s a good thing, but yesterday, for instance, I decided that I’d rest up a bit more since I had 9 miles to run today. I made a conscious decision to not pace in response to my watch.
Rest days aren’t yet programmed into the watch. I guess in some ways my watch isn’t so smart after all. Because every once in a while you need to really rest. Even thought I didn’t meet my step goal yesterday, I still walked the dogs, I did Core Essentials in the morning, I did about 20 minutes of core exercises that also focused on my hips in the afternoon (think clamshells, leg lifts, all those exercises that are so good for strengthening my glutes and helping my IT band), and did some yamuna body rolling (also to help the IT band).
That’s a fair amount of activity for a rest day, no? Active recovery, as they say. But none of it gets me more steps. And it’s oh so tempting to meet my step goal every day because hey, I’m a type A person when it comes to exercise. I got a measly 8,000 steps in yesterday, btw.
Today? It’s not yet 11 am and I’m already over 22,000, which is a new record since I’ve had my Vivoactive (but I think the most steps I’ve had in one day was 27,000 — and I think that was actually without running — while traveling & exploring, which can really rack up the steps, too.
Do you think your fitness tracker actually pushes you to overexercise sometimes?
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