My husband recently gave me a blue Jawbone UP wristband to monitor my progress toward walking 10,000 steps everyday. I was skeptical at first about how this fitness tracking device would help me to achieve a healthy lifestyle. After all, it's just a device tracking my daily activities. However, having used it for awhile, I realize the amazing benefits of simply being aware of my physical activity during the day.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING
There have been studies on the health benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day. A University of Wisconsin study, showed significant improvement in the health of people who previously lived a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to note that at the beginning of the study, all participants were deemed to have a high risk of diabetes. After just eight weeks of walking for health, participants showed significant drops in blood pressure and improvements in glucose tolerance.
Overcoming Office Idleness
I had become very comfortable spending eight straight hours a day in front of the computer. As the Health and Wellness Director at the North Suburban YMCA, I was hoping to improve the health of the Woburn community, by working hard at my desk throughout the day. Yet putting my own at expense to resolve this, I eagerly plugged my new band into my phone and set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day and sleeping eight hours a night.
After several months of wearing the little blue band, I now like it a lot! Not only does it track how many steps I take a day, but it also monitors sleeping patterns and idleness. Every time I've been inactive for 45 minutes, the band gives me a little alert which motivates me to take a little walk rather than stay glued to my computer screen. I never realized how little I move around when I work, but now that I have this device to remind me, I get my blood pumping with a little stroll around the office. Getting my blood pumping not only helps my health, but is improving my work and energy level!
Motivation: Friendly Competition
My favorite feature of the device is that it allows me to compete with my friends. After seeing my band, a friend of mine purchased one himself and invited me to join his team. We then began a friendly competition on who had healthier and more active lifestyle habits.
I can actually view his sleep and activity levels on my iPhone. I’m happy to report that by his chiding that his activity is better than mine, I am motivated to get the recommended activity levels each day of 10,000 steps.
At present, my little blue band on my wrist acts as a gentle reminder about the health benefits provided by walking. My husband sure knew what he was doing when he purchased it for me. I guess I'll keep them both. :)
Author: Michelle Dengler, Health & Wellness Director, North Suburban YMCA