Following the lead of the current wife, she who genuinely cares about fitness, caloric intake, avoiding harmful food additives, eating plenty of health foods to ward off depression, beriberi, acne, the heartbreak of psoriasis, anal itch, chronic halitosis and who shops at Whole Foods to prove it, I purchased my very own “fitness band”.
For those of you who have spent the last few months not paying attention while trying to get onto the Healthcare.org website or devising ways to send Ted Nugent to Kandahar to test some of his Second Amendment rights in actual combat, let me explain the fitness band concept. The fitness band is, you may be surprised to learn, a band that monitors fitness activity. Typically, the band is a bracelet, although you can get variations that clip to your clothing if wearing a bracelet isn’t your style. My particular bracelet is the Fitbit, in slate. Very stylish.
The band records a wearer’s activity by sensing movements, especially walking or running. The band can distinguish between “very active activity” and merely “walking around activity”. The gizmo then translates this data into number of steps taken, resulting distance walked and calories burned for any given 24 hour period. The wearer can program the device to track sleep patterns and enter specific fitness activities such as biking or rowing, changes in weight, caloric intake and fluid volume consumed. The fact that the greatest portion of my fluid intake is wine doesn’t seem to be a negative to this drinker-friendly little device.
Some of you may be wondering, as I did, why, exactly, would a person want to know all this when there are plenty of other things to track in your life such as global warming caused by Obamacare’s refusal to address the Benghazi incident on its website? It was patiently explained to me that knowing these things about my daily activity (or lack thereof) is a good thing and a motivator to “get off my lazy butt and take the dog for a walk.” This was explained in the kindest possible way.
Legend has it that the Japanese, in an effort to sell the beejesus out of cheap pedometers, established 10,000 steps per day as the optimum walking activity to maintain fitness. For the average Japanese, this level of walking equates to about 5 miles. No one in the U.S. stopped to say, “Hey, wait a sec. Average Americans have longer strides than do the Japanese and most of us are big fat galoots in the bargain, how’s about we adjust that 10,000 down to say, 3,500?” But, noooooooooooo.
The developers of the Fitbit accepted the 10,000 steps per day goal. Now, during the day, if I accidentally surpass this goal, my bracelet goes into party mode, vibrating a little dance on my wrist and putting on an impressive LED light show. This doesn’t happen all that often, a fact about which I am supposed to feel guilty.
What I find is that I average about 7,500 steps per day, which translates to 3.5 miles. When I learn that I have traveled over three miles but have not reached 10,000 steps, I feel slightly weary, proud of myself, and figure, “Close enough”. Then I lie down. The current wife, however, takes the “I’m going to get there, by cracky” approach and launches into a late evening walk around the neighborhood.
I have also learned that by simply pumping my arm up and down, the fitness band (which is apparently not that sentient) merrily adds steps to the record. Therefore, if you see me prone on the couch, aggressively waving my left arm around, know that I am simply getting the Fitbit to “party” mode after which I feel distinctly less guilty.
Perhaps the most disturbing function of the band is its ability to record my sleep pattern. The band purportedly distinguishes between “deep sleep”, “restless sleep”, “light sleep” and “awake”. I really hadn’t obsessed about my sleep pattern UNTIL I got the band. Now, every morning, I can call up the sleep pattern read-out on my phone or PC and marvel at what a crappy night I apparently experienced. What often starts out as a peppy, “go get ’em” mood turns dark and depressing after realizing that the “restless”, “light” and “awake” bars exceed the “deep sleep” bar. I’ve had to up my meds just to offset this development.
On the positive side, since I have owned the fitness band, my beriberi problems have dramatically abated.
Observoid of the Day: Even the Japanese can’t walk normal in clown shoes.