Good exercise habits can be very difficult to achieve these days. In our sedentary ways, it can be easy to forget fitness altogether. Study after study has shown that spending too much time sitting can do as much harm to the body as many other bad habits. For example, Dr. Kim of X bytes argues that sitting is the new smoking and speaks of a “byte” sized approach to fitness. The good news is that “wearable” tech devices like the Fitbit and now the Apple Watch (aka “iWatch”) can be very useful in keeping fitness top-of-mind and breaking the overly sedentary culture.
The key metric with the Fitbit device is the “number of steps” taken each day. In fact, the concept has become almost an obsession in the wearable-fitness industry. You will frequently hear the numbers 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day as necessary for good health. However, keep in mind that the average American might only average 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day. Given that 2,000 steps adds up to about one mile, five miles of steps can be pretty tough to achieve during the average work day. The good news is that by using a wearable device or a simple pedometer, you can at least track your progress toward a higher goal.
This is where being in the meeting industry makes a difference. If you don’t think you can put in a lot of steps, try going to a conference! The first few times I wore a Fitbit at a conference, I noticed that I achieved the 10,000 step goal easily – typically getting up to 15,000 steps a day (over 7 miles). Later, after I switched to the Apple Watch, I worked a show and walked over 10 miles on each day, about 20,000 steps. Needless to say, I was quite pleased.
Richelle Wilkins, CMP and CEO of FitLife Events, shares similar experiences. “When I go to a conference I know that I am going to exceed my daily goal of 10,000 steps! While working or attending a conference, I average 20,000 steps in one day (so of course meeting planners need comfortable shoes to support all of the walking). Since I know I tend to work long hours at conferences and may not get a workout in, I go the extra mile by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or instead of using walkie-talkies to communicate with staff, I try to walk to speak with the in-person instead (if there’s time).”
In terms of a tracker, there is nothing wrong with the old pedometer. However, wearable tech devices have some advantages. Besides a sleek style, the FitBit has a fun app that allows you to see how you are doing compared with your friends. It also includes various other activity trackers including how well you slept and calories burned. The Apple Watch is a more upscale alternative to the FitBit and, of course, has many features besides fitness tracking. Both devices use alerts to encourage you to keep progressing toward your goals. When you’ve hit your marks, you get a notification. Those little moments of positive reinforcement can really help make your day.
If you’ve decided to use one of these devices to get or stay fit, here are some things to think about. Time your use in conjunction with an approaching conference. Start your baseline a few weeks before the show. Over the next few weeks try to increase your daily goals. Finally, wear the device at a conference and see what you can really do!
If you are not fitness obsessed, don’t worry. It is best to set reasonable goals that you have a real chance to achieve on most days. You will feel better!