We seem to ask technology to enhance our everyday life; we have everything from fitness watches, earphones that no longer connect via a wire and even shout “Alexa” or “Siri” to turn our music on. In my case, I used a step counter for over three years and sometimes it felt overwhelming and even have the opposite effect of what it’s meant to do. Today’s post is all about how and more importantly, why I’m no longer counting my steps.
(I used it to not only track my steps but to also, track my workouts.)
If you’ve followed me on my Instagram for a few years now, you’ll know that for a long time, my first board of call when it came to documenting my fitness was my FitBit. I went from the Flex to the Blaze, and I have had the FitBit Blaze for a little over two years now. I even got my Mum and her partner to get one too and they love theirs. The only time I didn’t wear it was when I went for a shower; with it being able to track your sleep, I wanted to see all that information so taking it off when I went to bed, wasn’t an option for me. Over the last month or so, I decided to take off my tracker to see how I felt because I had been using it for so long, I wanted to see if I felt any different without it. When you’re so used to each step being counted, it is strange to suddenly not have it there anymore.
So why exactly did I want to try living without it? Why is this so significant that I felt the need to write about it? The problem for me was I relied on my tracker too much; if I didn’t hit the 10,000 steps the one day at the weekend that I was cleaning the house, I felt bad. Sure, I had cleaned the house and felt great for it, but I didn’t get that little buzzing notification that I had hit my steps. I started to feel bad over one thing I hadn’t done rather than the small tasks I had done around the house. Having been in therapy and working on validation issues like these, I knew it had become a problem. Some people could say, “Well, why don’t you just take it off?” When you have depended on something for so long and you look to it for validation, it’s not quite as simple as that.
(In terms of running, it wasn’t that reliable when it came to accurate distance when running.)
To give you some back story on me; I’m a fairly active and fit person. When I was working in the city centre, all I needed to do was walk to work which was half an hour and back again, and that was 10,000 steps. It was almost too easy to hit that target every day but for someone else who was driving to work and not getting out of the office as much as I was, it could have been harder for them. I would go to the gym twice a week and I would try and do the same in terms of going for a run too, so I never had a problem with needing to hit my step targets.
(Picture from LivengProof.com)
I’m a massive fan of podcasts and one I have been listening to recently is “The Liveng Proof” podcast by Engrid Latina. If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll see her pop up in my stories at least once a day (and for very good reason too!) In one of her latest podcasts, her guest was one of her clients called Dorothy and you can tell they had a very special relationship, just by how the conversation flowed. In this episode (which is linked here) Dorothy talked about how she worked with Engrid about helping her fitness get back on track and it starting out with walking, to create those guidelines to help figure out where she was starting off. Dorothy then talks about her mentor taking off her FitBit off and that inspired her to take hers off. She openly says it was for vanity reasons, and I really feel her in that because they can be quite bulky and let’s face it, they’re not the most fashionable of accessories, are they? She goes on to say that this gave her more freedom and she didn’t feel the need to track every step so I definitely felt like I was on the same wave length as Dorothy while listening to this episode. She goes on to say that she thinks it’s important to open ourselves up to new things and I believe that can still be the case when we talk about letting off of every single tracker we have on ourselves.
It’s all about purpose; do I believe step counters are important? Of course! If you’re someone who wasn’t aware of the exercise they were doing before and wants to keep an eye on it, then absolutely. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they walk enough during the day and wants to see if they can improve themselves with a step counter, then that’s even better. However, if you’re someone who struggles with control and sometimes lets little things take over, then maybe (like me) you need to re-evaluate if you need a tracker in your life.
(This is an example of the tracking that Strava can do where it gives you the map with your distance, your time and your average pace per kilometre or mile.)
Don’t get me wrong, I still use trackers. I am a massive fan of Strava which can be used for a number of different exercises on Apple and Android, but I tend to use it for my running and my cycling. It’s a fantastic way of keeping track of all my runs and how far I have come in terms of my timing for running a 10K distance for example. I always like to keep an eye on it when I go cycling too because I never tend to know the distance when I’m cycling, so it’s nice to have that too. I’m certainly not against trackers in any way shape or form but for me, I believe that it needs to have a purpose and for me, a FitBit no longer serves its purpose for me.
As I mentioned when I talked about Engrid’s podcast, Dorothy felt freedom when she stopped using her tracker and so did I. It was hard at first to let something go that I had used for so long but it gradually got easier. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to hit my target each and every day and that was big for me. Scott has tried to encourage me to start using the Samsung Health app to track my steps but again, it’s not important to me to do this. He loves using it and he’s always in the top 5% in the world of steps but it’s not for me, right now at least and I’m pretty proud that I have been able to take a step back.
Let me know your thoughts on today’s post; do you use a fitness tracker? Do you count your steps? Why do you count your steps or have you stepped away from it too? Thank you so much for reading it, and if you know of any other posts that are similar to this, please send them my way.