Band Aid

Over the last week or so, I’ve been wearing a FitBit Charge HR. I don’t think FitBit’s need much of an introduction, we’ve all got TV’s so the advert is forever embedded in our brains.

This post, however, isn’t a review of the FitBit. I want to focus on my experience of using a fitness band, and the impact it had on my daily routine.

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The Charge HR is designed to measure step-based activity…so walking and running…just a posh way of saying it. I don’t particularly enjoy running unless it’s on the football pitch (but the band would be ideal for a keen runner).

I did however use the pedometer feature to monitor my walking. I work a 9-5 desk job so it made me acutely aware of how much, or how little, I moved around during the day, so I started setting myself a target of 10,000 steps a day. Let’s be honest, if I wasn’t wearing the band, would I really think about how much time I’d spent sat at my desk? Probably not. It’s small factors like that which shows the band was getting into my head.

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Although there’s no GPS function on the Charge HR, it does have a timer so that you can log your times, which is exactly what I did for the 2,7 mile cycling part of my daily commute – after a 40 mile drive. Sympathy please.

Each day I was trying to beat the previous day and, without realising, ended up pushing myself harder. The only thing I seemed to forget was that I wasn’t racing other cyclists, and really shouldn’t have been cutting them up after overtaking them. Slow pokes.

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The final thing that it made me look at was my sleep. It’s such an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle which is often overlooked – even I’m guilty of that.. We KNOW that we should get a minimum of 8 hours sleep, but how many people actually do, with their hectic, smartphone centric lifestyles? I know for sure that at least 1 person does. Me. Again, it’s something I’ve really focused on improving since wearing the band.

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So, can a fitness band help you achieve your fitness goals? Personally I think they can. While they’re not going to dramatically improve your health and physique overnight (nothing can!), fitness bands help you to adjust your mindset, become more aware of your physical exertion, and allow you to track your progress to see how far you’ve come. All you can do is be the best you can be, and trying to beat your own personal bests is a great way of doing that, as comparing yourself to other people is one of the most unhealthy things you can do.

Overall I enjoyed using the Charge HR but I think the Surge model would have been a better fit for my lifestyle as it supports weight training. Plus, it’s called the “super watch” – put the word “super”, “turbo”, or “platinum” in front of something, and I’ll definitely want it.

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Fitness bands are widely available online, but I ordered my band from My Active Plus which is a store launched by AXA PPP Healthcare.The store itself had a decent range of products available and after a bit of digging, was actually the same price as Amazon.

A feature I liked on the store was the addition of something called Active Health. It’s like a basic version of My Fitness Pal, where you can log your workouts, food intake, and can sync your device too. There’s also health tips which would be useful for beginners.

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You can also work out your health age by taking a comprehensive survey. As a 31 year old, I’m sure I nailed it.

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Banner image take from fitbit.com

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