National Walking Day & 1st Month with FitBit

According to the American Heart Association, April 2 was National Walking Day, and it just so happened that it was one of the first somewhat nice days of spring here in Boston. A few of my colleagues and I got outside and went for a 30-minute walk – something that most of us rarely get the chance to do. On days when I’m busy at work, it usually seems like taking a break would take away from getting through my to do list, but in reality, I think taking a break to go for even a 15-minute walk makes me more productive. I’ve always underestimated the amount of hours I spend in front of the computer screen during the workday… until I got my FitBit Flex.

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I’ve only been using the FitBit Flex for a month or so now, and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about them before I finally caved and bought one to try out for myself. So far, I actually do like it. The main benefit I see from it is that you have a set goal for the day – I use the standard 10,000 steps – and I can tell very easily when I’m being less active on some days than others. It doesn’t force me to work out, but it makes me want to get up a bit more throughout the day, even if it’s just walking around the office to talk to coworkers instead of emailing them. I find that on days where I go to my boxing class, go for a 15 minute or so walk during the day, walk around the office a bit and commute to and from work, I easily surpass 10,000 steps. But on days where I’m incredibly busy and sit at my desk all day, I come just under that mark, which is just annoying.

Other benefits of the FitBit Flex are that you can track your food using the app on your iPhone, and then set calorie goals based on how much weight you want to lose over time. The FitBit tracks how many calories you burn throughout the day, so it’s basically a ratio of calories in, calories out. FitBit Flex also monitors your sleep patterns, which is cool, but I just so happen to be world’s best sleeper, so I rarely wake up throughout the night at all. More to come on FitBit as I continue using it!

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In honor of National Walking Day, FitBit posted a few tips for getting away from your desk during the work day and taking more steps each day.

1. Take a break. Your emails will still be there when you get back. Taking two fifteen-minute breaks throughout your day and using them to take a walk. Not only will you easily get in your recommended 30 minutes of activity, but you’ll pass your friends on the leaderboard who are still at their desks!

2. Turn your meeting into a walking meeting. Unless you’re giving a presentation or need to take notes, there’s no reason to always take your meetings sitting down. With the weather getting nicer, suggest you spend your next one-on-one meeting by enjoying the fresh air and going for a short walk. You’ll both get exercise, and you’ll still be getting work done.

3. Buddy Up. One easy way to make sure you’re actually getting out, rather than getting bogged down with work, is to find a buddy and plan your walking breaks together. Plus, Fitbit users with one or more Fitbit friends tend to be 27% more active anyway, so your work buddy could help boost your overall fitness, even apart!

4. Do things face-to-face. Why send an email when a conversation will work just as well, if not better? In our email-centric offices, it’s easy to forget that sometimes walking over and having a conversation with someone can be much more efficient.

5. Take the longer route. Even on days when you’re too busy to take a real break, we all need some breaks throughout the day. Next time you use the restroom or head to the kitchen, go the long way there, or to one further away than your desk. All those small amounts of extra steps can add up over the course of a day.

6. Use the stairs. If it’s possible to take stairs instead of an elevator, take the stairs every time. Walking up stairs is 10x as efficient as walking on a flat surface when it comes to burning calories, and it’s sometimes even faster than an elevator!

What do you do to get some extra steps in – or exercise in general – during the work day?

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