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Carol Perkins: I have joined the world of physical fitness

Now she's synchronized with her computer. And family can spy on her activities - she can't even exaggerate the 2,000 steps a day she takes when the rule is 10,000. But it has benefits. She now knows how much exercise she doesn't do each day.
Next earlier column - Carol Perkins: Five things on To-Do list for 2014 Posted January 12 , 2013.

By Carol Perkins

I have joined the world of physical fitness. This has been a long time coming and would never have arrived if not for my son and daughter-in-law who decided that I was not getting enough exercise (really?) or burning enough calories (no kidding) to be physically fit (which I'm not).

On my left wrist I sport a FITBIT Force. This new bit of technology tracks my steps, the distance I walk, how many stairs I climb, the number of calories I burned, and my overall active minutes. I can view these stats by looking at the LED display, which also gives me the time of day. This device also monitors my sleep patterns and can wake me up with a silent alarm (whatever that means). I haven't used my silent alarm yet.

Dongle synchronizes Carol and Computer

I am to wear this piece of technology day and night, through rain, snow, sleet, or hail. At the beginning of each morning, I can track my previous day's activity through what is called a dongle. Yes, that's right. A dongle. This is a small device that fits into a USB slot on the computer that synchronizes my Fitbit Force to the daily log. I can also keep up with myself through my smart phone. Are you following me?

FitBit even facilitates some spousal spying

During my last visit to Texas, I had commented on Jon and Beth's Fitbits and they explained that they were working on joint fitness plan and could even go to each other's activity logs and "spy" on the number of steps, etc. I merely said, "That is really a neat idea," and they took off from there.

Actually, I had looked for a Fitbit at Sam's Club during Christmas but there were none in stock. Imagine my surprise when I opened my new piece of technology hiding under the tree.

"Mama, you need to walk 10,000 steps a day," Jon explained.

No problem. Surely I took more than 10,000 steps a day. Imagine my surprise when I made only 2,000 the first day and fewer the second. Jon called to check on my progress. "What is your average per day?" he asked.

It would do no good trying to lie about number of steps; FitBit knew

I was tempted to lie, but then I knew Beth would know. "Around 2,000."

"Mama, people in the hospital walk more than that!" I needed to pick up the pace.

Particularly of interest was the sleep log. Even without a Fitbit, I knew that my erratic sleep patterns were causing me to be tired, but when I checked the numbers and saw that I had 28 minutes worth of restless sleep, off and on during the night, and woke up a total of ten times and the pattern continued every night I needed to do something. Anyone knows that a sound sleep, uninterrupted, makes for a happier person. Obviously, I need my C-Pap machine adjusted.

There are problems keeping bracelet attached

Even though the bracelet reminds me constantly of what I need to do, there is a downside to wearing it. First of all, I have difficulty keeping the bracelet connected; consequently feeling it fall during the day. There are two small chrome-looking slates that fasten into two slots in the rubber. If not pushed all the way through, the bracelet will come off. This means I have to keep an eye on the bracelet.

Techno-challenges necessitate assistance in braceleting herself

The second problem is that I can't connect the bracelet myself; so I have to depend on Guy or anyone who is near to push the ends together. Near strangers have connected my Fitbit.

Another problem is that I am not accustomed to wearing a watch or bracelet daily because both aggravate my wrist. Getting used to the device will come with time, but that time hasn't yet arrived. It is annoying.

As for the physical activity, I realize how much I DON'T do. This bracelet guilts me into doing better. It's like a slap on the wrist through rain, snow, sleet or hail twenty-four hours a day. Bit by bit I hope to see the benefits from wearing my Fitbit. - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2014-01-19 07:55:19
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