Monday, February 6, 2012

I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more...

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.” ― EllenDeGeneres
 The Proclaimers, I'm gonna be (500 Miles)

Firstly, that is a great song (I attached the YouTube link above so you can get it stuck in your head as well), and secondly perhaps Ellen’s grandma took it too literally, check a milk carton near you:).   All joking aside, why would you want to walk 1,000 miles (figuratively or literally) or even a single step, if you were not able to track and see the fruits of your labor?  My last blog hoped to inspire you to get up and get moving (I would love to hear your creative ideas on how you got that done, or helpful hints which you took to get started).  This blog is to focus on keeping track of all that moving and shaking you are about to embark on.
Maybe you have heard the recent guidelines about walking 10,000 steps per day. How far is 10,000 steps anyway? At 5’1” and a size 6.5 foot I am on the small size, but the average person's stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long. That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles.
A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. For these people adding steps has many health benefits. A reasonable goal for most people is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. Example: If you currently average 3000 steps each day, your goal for week one is 3500 each day. Your week 2 goal is 4000 each day. You can continue to increase each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.
Wearing a basic pedometer is an easy way to track your steps each day. You can start by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised how many (or how few) steps you get in each day.
I did however warn you that I am a lover of new age gadgets and gizmos so thinking outside the box, let’s  (pardon the pun) walk away from the pedometers of yester year, and say hello to the future! 
Drum roll please, as I present you with tracking of today and tomorrow...
FitBit Ultra- 

At $99.95 + free shipping, you get a device that tracks your every move (waking and sleeping). Fitbit makes every step you take a step toward better fitness, even on your busiest days. There are many pros- Fitbit Ultra's super sensitive 3-D motion sensor tracks your day down to details a pedometer can't catch, showing your exact steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled. The new altimeter tracks floors climbed (upgrade from the original FitBit) so you can monitor this heart-healthy activity, encouraging you to take the stairs at home or work, or climb a little further on your next hike.  We all know solid sleep is hugely important to well-being and weight loss. But until now the question has been: just how do you track sleep? The answer — the Fitbit Tracker. Slip your Tracker into the Fitbit sleep wristband before bed, and it will keep a watchful eye as you slumber. When your info wirelessly uploads to, you'll see not only how long you sleep, but how well you sleep.  The Tracker monitors how many times and how long you wake up during the night. Over time, you can apply what you learn to better understanding what helps you sleep better.  Also, for those interested in style, the FitBit plus now comes in blue and pink!  There is however a con for those of you like me who can be a tad forgetful.   Although it has the plus of being tiny, comfortable and discreet, I have made the ill fated mistake of leaving it affixed on my clothing and…gulp… washing it in the washing machine and dryer .  Be warned, do not make this mistake…it is not water proof- Fit Bit= Rest in Peace.
Jawbone Up-
Which brings me to a new and improved version of tracking.   At a similar price point of $99.95, Jawbone Up is also wi-fi enabled and you can Use the UP wristband and iPhone® app to track your steps, distance, calories burned, pace, intensity level, active vs inactive time, GPS routes and more.   Another similiarity?  You can put your wristband in sleep mode to automatically track your hours slept, deep vs. light sleep, awake time and overall sleep quality. How does it differ? Replace your noisy alarm clock with UP's silent Smart Alarm; it vibrates on your wrist and intelligently wakes you up at the ideal moment in your natural sleep cycle just before your desired wake time. Also, another super neat feature, you can Program your UP wristband to vibrate on your wrist to remind you to move when you've been inactive for too long. You control the interval and timeframe.  One hindrance- it does not have the Fit Bit Stair Climber Option.  Additional benefits- Sweat and water proof so you can swim with it.  Also wear as a bracelet so less chance to lose, and a great conversation starter.  Current ETA- Jawbone Up is going through beta testing to enhance battery life, so production was postponed, and there is no current go live date, but I am ready to pre-order as soon as it’s available! For those interested the first color will only be black, but more will be created for those who are patient (not a strong suit for most early adopters- myself included =o)).
Nike Fuel Band –
Clearly popular (despite its most expensive $149  price tag), as it is temporarily out of stock.  Tracks each step and calorie burned through a Nike Accelometer, and if that doesn't impress you, it also makes a great watch.  How it works?  You set a target for how active you want to be, it starts each day in red and then works up to green when you meet your goal.  As it so eloquently says “The key to doing more, is knowing more”

For an added bonus- These tools give you the ability to turn every day into your game- to challenge yourself to capture records, reach new milestones & unlock special achievements.  My boyfriend and “partner in crime” are pretty competitive and we used our FitBits to compete on who would walk more steps each day, and who could hit milestones first.   When Jay and I went on our 7 country in 8 day vacation to South East Asia, we wore our Fit Bits every day to compare how many steps we could take, marking a new personal best and victory every day.  The highlight was in Jakarta, Indonesia when we walked over 40,000 steps, or over 20 miles (blisters to prove it)!  It was the most incredible accomplishment, and seeing my little trophy on my FitBit homepage made it that much sweeter. 
My FitBit Progress Report 

There are many ways to increase your daily steps. Use your imagination and come up with your own list:
  Take a walk with your spouse, child, or friend
  Walk the dog
  Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  Park farther from the store
  Better yet, walk to the store
  Get up to change the channel
  Window shop
  Plan a walking meeting
  Walk over to visit a neighbor
  Get outside to walk around the garden or do a little weeding

Once again, the goal here is to *start*.  Start moving, start tracking, and you will be amazed at yourself and the progress you will make once you are aware. In the infamous words of Lao Tzu, “A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Take your first step today!


  1. Very cool gadgets! This is very helpful to people who need to start moving. I am always hesitant to buy pedometers, even though I am tempted, because they are rather pricey- but you might have sold me.

  2. I absolutely think you should check them out. Your health and happiness is always a great investment to me! :)

  3. For me Fitbit worked, calories watching tied into LoseIt, personal, weekly and daily emails. I added the personal trainer/evaluator for an extra $49 for the year.

    So far 15 lbs in January and 10 lbs in February, averaging 8000 steps a day now. Hope to hit the first health goal this June.

  4. That is WONDERFUL Owen! Amazing results! Congratulations, and keep up the great work. Please keep me posted on your success' and tips and tricks that work for you. Always welcome additional inspiration and secret sauces! :)