a peek inside the fishbowl

31 Dec, 2014

Stepping it up… with the Fitbit (pun totally intended)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Yaktivism

The human body never ceases to amaze me. If you repeat the tiniest of physical actions, you will get better at them. Take for example, brushing your teeth with your left hand. If you’re right-handed, and you try it with your left, you’ll find it really awkward at first but the more do you it, the more adept you’ll become. (Try it!)

The same goes for fitness. For a long time, if I was walking the dog alone, I’d run the first hundred steps. It was always a hundred steps – never more, never less. I’d count them out loud.

OK, Piper? Let’s go! One, two, three, four…

(To this day, if I start counting, she starts to run. Isn’t that funny?)

When I first started, 100 running steps was hard to do. But it got easier very quickly. And because I promised myself that I’d only do 100 a day, I never felt bad about not doing more.

As some of you already know I’ve been obsessively counting using my Fitbit One for the better part of a year now. My goal is always 10,000 steps, and I’m usually pretty good about reaching it on a daily basis. I start with a 20 minute walk on the treadmill every morning, no matter what. Other things that boost my step count include parking far from the entrance at the grocery store and making a point of returning my cart. I walk Piper every day. And some days I walk to the grocery store or down to Westboro to grab a coffee. All of these little things add up to one big thing: I have been feeling pretty darn good. I’m no skinny minny, but I am certain it’s contributed a lot to my overall health and well-being. (And for the record, my doctor agrees.)

It took me a long time to stop beating myself up about not being the type of gal who plays Ultimate or goes to the gym or runs a marathon. I’m not that kind of person and I can’t become that person by sheer will. I am, ultimately, a lazy exerciser. My goal back in January 2014 was to do the minimum amount of exercise medical science requires for measurable health benefits, and that’s what I’ve done. The secret is that I can walk every day, and log a regular 10K, is that I actually enjoy walking. And that’s exactly why I’ve decided to step it up.

“ANDREA, you are one lazy girl,” I said to myself.
“I know. But I’m doing SOMETHING. And it’s better than nothing, right?” I replied.
“True. True. I looked it up and learned that people need a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, and I’m doing that, which is great.”
“But let me guess, it’s not quite cutting it.”
“Exactly. I don’t think I’m giving the ol’ ticker enough attention. Shouldn’t I be sweating, at least a little?”
“Sigh. Ok. I can tell you are planning something. Spill it.”
“Two words: Interval. Training.”

So after talking it out with myself, I decided I had to add some intervals to my daily treadmill routine. The past few mornings have gone something like this:

  • Four minutes of brisk walking
  • 45 seconds of running as fast as I can
  • Four minutes of brisk walking
  • 45 seconds of running as fast as I can
  • Four minutes of brisk walking
  • 45 seconds of running as fast as I can
  • Four minutes of brisk walking
  • 45 seconds of running as fast as I can
  • Brisk walking to cool down, for as long as I can go, time/energy permitting.

In case you’re picturing me as some kind of graceful treadmill gazelle, let it be known that I have to work really hard at not falling off at the end of each running part as I clutch at the handlebars and try to decrease the speed without wiping out or flying off the treadmill. (Note to self: I need to program my intervals into the friggin’ treadmill ASAP.) We’re not talkin’ smooth moves here.

Related: This is going to sound totally morbid, but I have actually pictured myself lying on a hospital bed strapped to a beeping monitor; sick with some kind of illness as my children look on, feeling lost and helpless. Mark is devastated. The doctor has cold hands. The food is terrible. My gown is drafty and super unflattering…. etc etc. Basically, it’s awful. Why am I here? What could I have done to change things, and make myself stronger, healthier? As my future self looks back on her life, the only thing she wishes is that she took a few minutes every day to honour her body and take better care of it when she was able to do so.

Running for four measly intervals of 45 SECONDS every day? Future self, you are worth it.

When I did my intervals yesterday I counted the number of steps I ran in 45 seconds and it was just over 100, just like I used to do when I walked the dog.

(What really solidified my thoughts on this issue was this article I found on the Weighty Matters Facebook page. Go read it and let me know what you think.)

1 Response to "Stepping it up… with the Fitbit (pun totally intended)"

1 | About happiness and self-improvement >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 9th, 2015 at 9:56 am


[…] was a smart move to step up my steppin’ with my Fitbit. You’d think it’d leave me more tired, but it has had the opposite effect. (Related: I […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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