My husband’s company encourages it’s employees to take care of themselves. Our health savings account is credited when we get annual physicals, take online health assessments and even exercise. To motivate us to exercise and remain active, they’ve given us Fitbits which we wear on our wrists. The Fitbit sends information to an app that we installed on our smartphones so we can see how many steps we’ve taken, how many calories we’ve burned etc. I like to call mine my microchip because it seems to know exactly what I am doing at all times. It counts each step I take, it senses and counts “active minutes” which I assume means when I am doing something other than walking—like jogging. I’ve logged plenty of active minutes when I wouldn’t consider myself being active but maybe it’s counting running up and down the stairs to help Cooper on the potty and then running back down to make sure dinner isn’t burning.
The thing that I love most about my Fitbit is that it confirms what I already knew: I don’t stop moving. Being a full-time stay at home parent is a physical job. Yesterday, I walked 16, 643 steps (7.16 miles), I logged 15 active minutes and burned 2,499 calories. What did I do? I took the dog for a walk…less than a mile since it was freezing cold, I went to Costco and other than that, I did mom stuff around our 1,300 square foot house. I fixed breakfast while intermittently breaking up fights or helping someone trapped inside a turtleneck to become unstuck. Then I unloaded the dishwasher while helping someone get on their mittens and hat and coat, then ten minutes later, I helped someone take off their mittens and hat and coat. I vacuumed while yelling at someone to mop up the dirty snow someone had tracked in and then gave up and did it myself. And so on and so on. But the point is, I rarely sit down and if I do, it’s for minutes at a time or else I am in the car.
My husband, on the other hand, works in an office. He loves nothing more than to go on a five mile run in the mountains or go for a three hour bike ride. His Fitbit confirms that he needs to make time to do these things because he averages 7 thousand steps a day if he’s not able to exercise. I average 14 thousand steps a day. If I am able to go for an actual run or get to the gym, I usually log over 20,000 steps that day. I jokingly told my husband that he can’t ask me what I’ve done all day if he comes home and the house is a mess because my Fitbit doesn’t lie—but the state of the house often does: I’ve been working my buns off and I still can’t keep up with housework, cooking, laundry, kids and pets. I mean, you don’t log over 14,000 steps watching the soaps and eating bon-bons, right?
Another cool thing about the Fitbit is that it also logs how well I sleep. When I turn off my light and lay down for the night, I click the button on the app that says “Begin sleep.” When I wake up the next morning, I click, “I’m awake.” Then I can see how many times I was restless or awake, in the form of a little graph. It’s very cool. I can look at the little red lines and remember “Oh, yes, there is Kate’s nightmare when I got up and checked on her,” or “This is when Cooper crawled into bed and started thrashing around next to me.” That’s usually when the most “green lines” show up…once a child comes into the bed. But no matter what the Fitbit says about the quality of my sleep, I still have to get out of bed and get ready to walk 6 or 7 miles in circles around my house picking up Monster Trucks and sweeping up crumbs!