School Business Leadership

My First ‘Fitbit’ week

OK I admit it. I bought myself a Fitbit last weekend so I could get involved in the #SBLTwitter Steps Challenge. I figured that I should spend some of my hard-worked-for earnings on myself occasionally and I knew I needed to up my exercise level, so I went for it.

Of course, I asked the internet which one I should buy, shopped around and got the right one for me at the right price, (I’m an SBM to the core!). Soon I was the proud owner of a Fitbit Charge 3.

I knew it was going to record my steps (that was, after all, the point of the purchase) but I’ve been quite surprised by the other things it has taught me about myself.

  1. The nature of my job means that I don’t consistently do a similar number of steps in a day. I’ve found that the variety in the role means that some days this week I’ve moved about surprisingly little, and other days I’ve gone way over my goal steps. Knowing which days are which has encouraged me to get out for a walk after work or understand why I’m tired when I get home.
  2. I have not managed the goal of walking at least 250 steps per hour between 9-5pm on any day this week. I was quite shocked at this. I stand at my desk and thought I moved about a lot but Fitbit tells me I spend a lot of my day in statue mode!
  3. I don’t sleep all that well. I always thought I had a good routine. Asleep by 10.45 and awake at 6.30. The Fitbit tells me I actually spend a lot of that time awake and the balance between deep, light and REM sleep is way off the benchmarks for a female of my age. It’s interesting, but I’m not sure how to put it right, more data is needed to help me understand how I can improve this balance. In the meantime I’m trying not to let it worry me as I think this could disrupt my sleep even further. I can’t bear the thought of lying awake at night fretting that I’m not getting enough sleep!
  4. My heart rate spends the majority of the day in what Fitbit calls the ‘fat burn zone’. I always knew I had a ‘hamster heartbeat’ but it is sort of worrying for it to be so explicitly displayed on my wrist. It is encouraging to see that in just one week of upping my exercise level, my ‘resting heart rate’ has reduced slightly. I need to concentrate on exercising consistently over the next few weeks to improve my heart health and monitor the impact.
  5. The nature of my digestive sensitivities means that I don’t have a particularly varied diet and it is clear from just one week of monitoring calorie income and expenditure that I was previously way into surplus! I guess the fit of my clothes had been trying to tell me this for a while, but I hadn’t been listening.
  6. I’m a habitual black coffee drinker, a black green tea drinker and a lemon squash drinker. I don’t actually drink water. Fitbit says I should. Do my drink choices count towards the water intake anyway? I haven’t been drinking alcohol or anything fizzy for a while as it was disagreeing with me but what effect will it have on my sleep patterns?
  7. I’m climbing a lot of stairs! My new Fitbit coincided with my new office on the 2nd floor. The printer and my old Finance Office are on the 1st floor so this week I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo! The thing about working on the 2nd floor is that, I think, you’re more likely to nip downstairs than if you were up higher. I won’t deny it, my gluteus maximus are feeling it!
  8. I’m more competitive than I’d like to admit! I have been coming home and finding an excuse to go out for a quick walk just to get a few steps ahead of my fellow SBM challenge steppers. I was pleased (but not content) to come 4th in my group, and I’m inspired to do better next week now!

As with most things in life the results of my Fitbit week have thrown up more questions than answers, but I am encouraged to keep moving, increase my activity levels and monitor my calorie intake! I want to gather more data about my routines and the effect on my health, both physical and mental, as well as the impact on my work. After one week, I’m left looking forward to getting to know more SBM’s through the challenge and eventually getting back into some of the clothes in my wardrobe!

I’d encourage everyone to get involved in a steps challenge. It has been a real eye-opener for me this week.

I’m off out for a walk.

(other step monitors are available of course!)


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