As the Fitbit takes over Southampton, here's something you might find useful to get results...
Hope you're keeping cool in this heatwave we've been graced with, now it's officially Summer!
A great friend of mine recently shared this very useful article on ways to keep cool, if you're struggling to sleep at night or even function during the day.
It's particularly important to get yourself in the fresh air if (like the majority of the population) you work indoors. One bonus of the sunnier days is that they encourage more people to spend time outside.
In Southampton, I feel very lucky to be surrounded be so many beautiful areas of natural beauty, whether it's nature reserves, forests, the lake or the coast I always feel so happy to be in these environments!
Which brings me to the purpose of this article. We're all aware of the dangers of sitting for too long, which is unfortunately part and parcel of having a sedentary job.
The recent rise in popularity of fitness apps and pedometers (particularly the Fitbit) has undoubtedly been a very positive thing, in encouraging people to move around more throughout the day. Even if it's just getting outside for a brief 10 minute walk at lunchtime, this can make all the difference to your mood, well-being and energy levels.
Many people also find analysing their data very empowering, as it allows them to set goals and targets either daily or weekly.
Of course I'm all for encouraging movement and activity (I guess that's part of being a personal trainer...) but the one thing I believe is important to remember is this:
Don't let this data distract you from being in the present moment.
In case that statement makes you think "Huh?" I shall explain why 😉
Scenario 1: you go for a beautiful scenic walk, in a lovely setting, take in your surroundings and notice all the details (smells, sensations, sights etc) and be present and mindful.
Scenario 2: you go for a beautiful scenic walk in the same setting, armed with your Fitbit to help reach your target number of steps for the day.
Not only would these scenarios end up being very different experiences, but if the number of steps is your focus, your body and mind is very likely to not experience the vast number of benefits that come with being present and mindful, as it would in scenario 1.
These include increased levels of serotonin (the hormone that makes us happy) decreased levels of cortisol (the hormone that makes us stressed and more likely to store body-fat) a boosted immune system, a clearer and less cluttered mind, greater productivity, feelings of calm and peacefulness and better sleep. Need I go on?!
I believe it is the level of domination that electronic devices have in our lives; combined with how easily distracted we can be is why our minds are often anywhere but the present moment. As a result, we so often forget to live in the here and now!
Yes, any movement (provided it's in a safe environment and safe for that individual) is better than sitting all day. It is getting the most out of your own personal movement that is what's really important here.
Many individuals believe they need data that they can analyse and quantify, in order to track their progress. This is fully understandable, especially if you are in training for an event and why I'm not actually saying that you should get rid of your Fitbit!
Rather just have a think about whether it's helping you to live in the present moment or diverting you away from it and therefore adding to your stress levels.
Perhaps try going for a walk/run/jog/whatever you normally do without it, in order to see if you notice any difference and if you're missing out on anything. That way you'll know whether a tracking device is right for you personally.
All you need to remember is that a target number of steps is not the be all and end all. Don't let that become your sole focus, if it means your body will miss out on the vast range of benefits that come with being present and mindful.