Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Fitbit fad.

By +Alexa Rankin

For many people, fitness is about walking, running, cycling or swimming to stay in shape and maintain good health, but now there there is a new breed of fitness enthusiasts who measure their success by the number of steps recorded on their Fitbit.

The crazy craze of Fitbit
Danae demonstrates how to put on a Fitbit device
The Fitbit trend has grown at an alarming rate over the last 3 years as more and more people become slaves to their steps in the name of fitness. These fancy electronic pedometers are nothing more than a wrist worn version of the ankle bracelets attached to criminals under house arrest, except the Fitbit freaks have a self inflicted sentence of 10,000 steps per day. Also, they are permitted to travel more than 3000ft from their home (about 1,200 steps) without getting arrested.

10,000 steps is roughly equal to 5 miles (depending on the individual's stride length and the accuracy of the pedometer), but is that really going to make a considerable difference in a person's level of fitness? The average American takes between 3000 and 4000 steps per day, so asking them to take 10,000 steps is more than doubling their activity level, and would certainly improve their health, but a person who is already physically active is not going to benefit greatly from walking 10k steps per day.

You also have to take into account the type of steps being taken. While pushing a cart around the grocery store will rack up a thousand steps, your body will not benefit as much from shopping as it would from walking up 1000 stairs or speed walking 1000 steps around the parking lot during your lunch break. These activities will get your heart working harder, increase your calorie burn, and ultimately make you fitter and leaner, providing you incorporate these steps into a health plan. You can't just strap on a Fitbit, count to 10,000 and watch the pounds fall off.

The concept of Fitbit is a good one, but it has created a breed of middle class women known as 'Fitbitches' who now have a new dimension with which to one-up their fellow book clubbers. Discussions over brunch have now moved on from what car their husbands are driving or what grades their kids are getting, to how many steps they are taking, as they undo the efforts of 4000 steps by ordering the Belgian waffles.

What do you use to keep track of your daily steps? What's your average daily step count? Do you track calorie intake as well as calories burned? Are you a Fitbitch? Share your Fitbit gossip in the comments section below.

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