Bill understands my growing infatuation, and, happily, accepts it and even shares it.
The object of my affection is small, but mighty. Unassuming, but all knowing. Silent, but speaks volumes.
It’s my Fitbit, a two-inch, plastic, digital body monitor. It conveniently slips into or clips onto my pocket, or clips onto my belt loop or waistband. Fitbit wirelessly records each step I take, and then conveys on its tiny screen how many total steps I’ve taken, distance traveled, changes in elevation equivalent to stairs climbed, calories burned, and even the time of day. After I’ve been active, a flower on a stem grows longer and adds leaves in relation to the level. Fitbit recommends a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles. I don’t bother with the diet and sleep monitoring components. When I’ve achieved a benchmark, Fitbit sends me a congratulatory email.
We had known about fitness trackers in general, but didn’t want to wear the kind in a wristband or watch. Most of my workout pants don’t have pockets, so carting my smartphone with a fitness tracking app was a no-go. We learned about Fitbit on a recent trip to Indianapolis to watch our niece Lauren, an Indiana Senior Girls All-Stars Basketball player, compete in the annual tournament vs. Kentucky’s Senior Girls All-Stars Basketball team. Before the game, we walked around downtown with Lauren’s sister, Lizzy and her husband, Nathan, who kept checking something in his pocket. It was a Fitbit One, and Nathan was enamored with it. By the way, Lauren’s team won. Yeah, Lauren!
As soon as we returned home, Bill bought us each a Fitbit One and our lives haven’t been the same since. I activated Fitbit on my computer, answering a few getting-to-know-you questions. When it asked for my weight, I was tempted to retort, “None of your business, buster.” I decided, however, that would have gotten us started on the wrong foot, so to speak. I typed the numbers. OK, so I fudged them slightly.
Why I even wanted a fitness tracker to begin with still eludes me. I’ve always been fairly self-motivated to exercise. I ran for years until the dreaded condition known as runner’s knee forced me to ease up on pounding the pavement, and converted me instead into a fast walker. While running also used to be my favorite way to explore a new destination, now it’s walking. Hiking and biking are my other favorite sports and just as much fun to do at home as on the road.
I’ve been on active vacations – hiking and biking in the Veneto region of Italy and in Costa Rica with Butterfield & Robinson, and hiking and canoeing in the Scottish Highlands and islands with BattenKill Canoe. On girlfriend getaways at Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson and the Berkshires and at Westglow Spa in Blowing Rock, NC, we spent more time hiking, biking, and snowshoeing than indulging in massages and facials . On trips like these, the mantra is essentially Just Move, and I’m eager to oblige.
Still, there’s something about Fitbit that ramps up my interest in physical activity.
Fitbit and I have developed a close rapport. Fitbit flashes random messages on its screen. The initial one was Hello, which I thought was appropriately chaste for our first date. Fitbit flirts with me (Woot. Hey Hey.). Sometimes it just wants conversation (What’s Up.). I envy Fitbit for being multilingual (Bonjour. Vamos.). Often, it exhorts me to move more (Faster. Climb It. Step It Up.), which borders on nervy, given I’m the one exerting all the effort. Then again, its job is to motivate me. Best of all, I know Fitbit loves me (Smooches. Love Ya.), and craves my love in return (Hug Me. Hold Me.).
How do I love thee, Fitbit? Let me count the ways.
- You’re basic black, so you color coordinate perfectly with the bulk of my travel wardrobe – also black.
- You match my definition of travel, which is anytime I leave my front door. You’re always ready to go (Note to self: Keep Fitbit fully charged.) and so easy to transport.
- As much as I enjoy sitting in cafes or on park benches when I travel and simply watching the world go by, I can rely on you to urge me to get up and get it in gear.
Just a week after Fitbit came into my life, I lost it. I apparently hadn’t clipped it securely enough to my belt loop, and when Bill and I returned home one evening from shopping and dinner with friends, I realized Fitbit was gone. I was heartbroken. I placed a panicked call to the hostess at the restaurant, and explained my dilemma, which sent her scurrying beneath our cloth-draped table with flashlight in hand. Alas, Fitbit wasn’t there. Bill proposed that we drive the half hour back to the shopping center to retrace our steps, and off we went.
It’s very smart of Fitbit software to contain a mobile syncing device to track your missing Fitbit, and Bill put it to use on my phone while I anxiously scanned the ground. What a relief that someone had found my Fitbit and kindly placed it on the wide rim of a trash receptacle in hopes that we soon would be reunited.