There’s a great piece of research bound to do the rounds over the next couple of days. The makers of Fitbit, a sort of extended pedometer which monitors how many steps you’ve taken, how many stairs you’ve walked up and down, how far you’ve gone, have looked into how much lard we’re all going to put on around our waists by watching sport rather than doing it this summer.
Men have admitted to watching four hours a day of sport (which if you’re watching a tennis match isn’t much), with 5% saying they’ll happily watch 42 hours a week when the Olympics are on. A fifth of us confess that we can’t fit exercise into our lifestyles.
I’m overweight and this is where the Fitbit has started to help. It acts as an ordinary pedometer but then it starts doing clever things (and before you ask I bought it after having it recommended, no freebies, no discounts). The website is the clever bit because it starts telling you how you’re doing compared to the average.
Take my own example. I walk the dog twice a day, I go up and down stairs a lot, I walk to the station when I have to – I was a little perplexed at just why I’m this shape. The Fitbit site told me in about 24 hours that a lot of the calories I take in are unnecessary – not just through the obvious stuff like “cut down on the drink” but also I hadn’t taken in how many calories were in a glass of orange juice, nor had I measured how large my bowl of cereal in the morning was. Cutting this down a bit was no trouble.
More importantly in spite of walking the dog I find my average daily steps are about 60% of those of the average male of my age. It all slots into place really easily after this.
If I could change one thing about the website, it would be that it’s so American. This isn’t a criticism as such, but when all of the calorie measures for fast and pre-packaged food refer to foreign products it’s much less easy to guesstimate how much you’re taking in. Nonetheless in identifying a few areas I could be changing quite painlessly, this little widget is very useful.
It also tells you about your sleep patterns by tracking your movements. I thought I was sleeping badly and blaming a lot of tiredness on that, taking ages to get off… It turns out that I’m not, my imagined ‘ages’ is about ten minutes long and I sleep like a baby. Inactivity is the answer.
At £79.99 it’s not dirt cheap but for a report like that on my lifestyle I would have paid a lot more. You can get one from Amazon through this link.