Fit…bit by bit

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k15661613Serious condition; Have you ever noticed that many seniors suffer from flat buttocks? It has less to do with sagging gluteus maximus muscles, and more to do with lazy-asset syndrome. I’m not talking about our lagging mutual fund portfolios, although in today’s market they’re probably flatter than our backsides. No, I’m referring to the act of vegetating in our recliners for prolonged periods of time.

Last year I turned 70. I’m in good enough shape for a gal of my vintage years, but some days I feel every one of the 26, 876 days I’ve been on this earth. And as much as it hurts some days when I shake my booty, it hurts even more when I don’t. So I might as well get on with it and keep moving.

Fit…bit: If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m a technobot. New electronic gadgets really turn my granny-crank. (And this from a little girl who grew up without electricity.) So at Christmas, my lovely daughter gave me a Fitbit – a wearable fitness tracker device. It’s like a 24/7 Uber pedometer, and you wear it like a wristwatch.

So what? Now you might be thinking…why does an aging boomer like me need one of those gadgets? It’s not like I’m at the gym every day sweating into my stretchy spandex, or even give a damn about measuring my BMI. Nor am I looking to develop a six-pack, other than the one I get from the beer store.

And yes, I’m sure the companies peddling these activity trackers have a younger audience in mind. But there’s a whole market of seniors out there who could benefit from wearing one of these devices. Seriously! Stay with me on this…

Senior alert: Retirement is lovely. Not having to go to work is even better. Watching commuters slip-sliding through snowstorms from our warm cozy chairs, coffee in hand, better yet! Been out there, done all that for nearly 40 years! But this aforementioned lazy-asset syndrome can creep up on us and before you know it, there’s a deep indentation in the seats of our recliners as our aging derrières flatten out like pancakes. What’s the cure? We need to get up and MOVE!

Ginny-walking-clipartWalking gunslinger: Strapping on my Fitbit changed everything for me. Suddenly I’m aware of how many steps I actually take in a day. And it tracks my heart beats, the stairs I’ve climbed, the calories I’ve burned and how I sleep at night, just to name a few features of this wickedly excellent contraption.

Simply put, the Fitbit has changed my behaviour:

  • I’m aware of how sedentary I am when I don’t make a conscious effort to MOVE.
  • I’m motivated to park the car further away from my destination to get my steps in.
  • I’m encouraged to get out of the car a few blocks from home and walk, when Hubsey is driving.
  • I’m reminded to keep my heart rate within my max range when exercising.
  • I’m incented to take the stairs instead of the elevator to achieve my daily goals.

Game on: It’s also fun to challenge friends who wear one of these gadgets to help you stay focused. You can cheer or taunt those in your group, which sounds rather hokey but is so much fun. I’m in a group with my daughter, my niece and a friend in B.C. We may not all achieve our goals every day, but we do what we can and support each other in the process.

Each person sets their own step goals. I started at 4000 steps one month ago, and now have reached the 7000 steps a day level. That’s about 5 km a day, or just over 3 miles. Not a lot but enough for me. FYI…the default is set at 10,000 daily steps. But everyone is different with individual limitations and health conditions.

Good vibrations: The big reward when you meet your daily challenge is what I call a Fit-gasm. When I reach my daily step threshold, the Fitbit vibrates on my arm to let me know I have achieved my goal. It’s oddly rewarding to get that sexy jiggle on my wrist and I must say, getting a few Fitgasms every week is a very satisfying feature indeed.

Last word: As a result of all this, I have walked 112 kilometres to date with my Fitbit – which is apparently the same distance as the March of the Penguins – the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds. But I digress…I’m hoping my ongoing condition of lazy-asset syndrome will dissipate, allowing the seat cushion on my recliner to retain its shape for many years to come. And who knows, it just might breathe new life into my buttocks as well.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

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21 responses »

  1. We seniors need a cheerleader just like you Pat Skene! You have always been an inspiration to me. I think I might have to purchase a Fit Bit. It might even encourage me to actually use the equipment in my exercise room… to my ability.

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    • Thanks Janice…with an activity tracker, all you really have to do is walk. No equipment necessary. Sometimes when the weather is bad, I use the treadmill in my condo building or simply walk around my condo and march on the spot to get my steps in. As long as I’m moving, it’s all good.

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    • Thanks Rosie…just read your post. So funny! Yes, I can’t relate to your experience. When I forget to put it on and find myself walking, I think it’s such a waste of steps! I read an article by someone the other day who is obsessing about increasing her steps and is up to 35,000 a day. Get a grip! 😊 The way I see it, it gets me on my feet and moving! And that’s what it’s about.

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  2. You youngsters with your techno-gadgets! Inspiring but fatiguing. When you get to my age you look for excuses for a little exercise: walking to the neighbour, taking the doggies for a walk, do a little bit of snow shoveling or a bit of gardening in warmer seasons. Or walking a little further to get a special photo. I gotta admit, though that the Fitgasms are rather intriguing!

    tom

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  3. Great post as usual! I’ll save my dairy queen dollars and buy one in the spring when I can actually walk without falling into an Ottawa snowbank never to be seen again! But by then you will be so far ahead of me I’ll never catch up! Oh well, just like scrabble and I haven’t given up there! Keep up the good work!

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    • Looking forward to the spring and a new challenger to join our group. I don’t plan on increasing my steps. Quite happy to stay right where I am…and happy to have you catch up. Although, you being Sooo much younger, I suspect you’ll give me a run (or walk) for my money!! See you in scrabble land.

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  4. Two years ago, I, too, received a Fitbit as a gift. It unleashed a monster. I had always exercised, but thought a good bout of cardio in the morning meant I could sit down for the rest of the day. Then I read more and more that we need periodic activity throughout the day, and that prolonged sitting causes all the maladies you describe. Now I’m addicted to my Fitbit; it keeps me moving. Thanks for spreading the word about this remarkable gadget.

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  5. Thanks, I enjoyed your article. I started out with the fit bit that clipped on my bra….it kept me moving, but I’m always curious to see how I’m progressing throughout the day…so it was rather inconvenient. For my birthday my hubby got me the wrist model…I love it. We dance the winter away in AZ and I’ve taken up line dancing, so I gotta admit that most of my steps are dance steps! ( they’re so much more fun than just walking.) My biggest day? 22,800 steps. We danced in the afternoon and again in the evening…but I gotta say, that by the end of that dance, I was draggin’. I love my fit bit….but that fitgasm sure startles me sometimes! Keep on walking and writing.

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    • Thanks for your lovely comment Marian. I think you’ve found the best way ever to get your steps in!! Achy breaky steps are much more fun that walking any day. That’s quite a record you have accomplished. Keep up the great work and have fun. Rock on girl!

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