I got a fitness tracker a few weeks ago. I chose the Jawbone UP24, but it has similar functionality to other fitness trackers including Fitbit and Nike Fuel Band. Primarily it tracks steps and monitors sleep. What I didn’t anticipate was that my fitness tracker would make me a better mother.
I was particularly interested in the sleep monitoring since I’m constantly tired and thought awareness of my (bad) sleep habits would help me improve them. I was interested in being more active as well, so I was ready to try to tackle the recommended 10,000 steps per day.
On the first weekday that I wore my Jawbone UP24 I was hoping that the walking I do to and from L stations during my commute, a short walk at lunch time, and just general walking around my office building would add up to 10,000 steps. I was wrong. When I got home I was still about 2,000 steps short.
My kids were riding scooters in the backyard. It was about 35 degrees out, which made it warmer than much of the winter but still not weather that made me want to linger outside. Dinner was almost ready, but my son asked if they could ride their scooters around the neighborhood after we ate.
On many 35 degree nights after a long day of work I would have dismissed this request with some vague promise that we’d do it this weekend. Then I’d hand the kids the iPad, plop myself onto the couch, and count the minutes until bedtime.
But on this night I thought about those 2,000 steps I needed to get to 10,000 steps for the day.
I said yes.
After dinner the kids and I bundled up and ventured out.
My son sped down each block and waited impatiently for his sister to catch up so that we could cross each road together. My daughter fell down a few times but always got up and kept going. We found a valuable stick and an exciting pine cone. We got home a little late for bath time.
We had fun.
And, yes, I got my 2,000 steps.
The next night we ventured out after dinner again but with bikes instead of scooters. That weekend when we went to the playground I participated in games of tag and climbed hills instead of monitoring from a bench.
I also do silly things like run in place while I watch a kid play in the bathtub.
Seriously. I do that.
I’ve had my Jawbone UP24 for 18 days. My sleep is still lousy (in part because of my daughter waking up at night and in part because I stay up too late playing Don’t Be a Dummy on my phone). The thing that’s changed is that I am moving a lot more.
I don’t always hit my 10,000 steps, but I always try. Being motivated to do more active play with my kids is an added benefit.
Plus, I’ve lost 5 pounds.
Do you have a Fitbit, JawBone UP, or other fitness tracker? Has it changed your habits? Let me know in the comment or on Twitter, Google+ , or Facebook.
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