We had a strong crowd again on Saturday. The weather outside was mild and the discussions at Winans were lively. Many of the discussion topics made it into the newsletter this week: the pluses and minuses of the Fitbit, Dr. Steph’s 2016 Fitness Challenge, and new GVWC apparel. There’s also an interesting article about how walking has been scientifically found to improve brain function. We are heavy on content this week. So, set aside a few minutes, and enjoy.
Fitbit to be Tied?
Not too long ago, while watching a football game on TV, I was amused by a remark the play-by-play announcer made about the head coach of one of the teams who was vigorously running up and down the sidelines. “Boy,” he said, “If that guy was wearing a Fitbit, he would probably have lost 10 pounds today!”
Wait, what? I’m pretty sure he was burning calories with or without the Fitbit.
The popularity of the Fitbit and other activity tracking devices is exploding. You can’t go anywhere these days without people talking about their daily steps or how many more they need to get to 10,000 for the day. Full disclosure here, I have never been a fan of the Fitbit. I think it is a fad; a gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about getting people moving for exercise and fitness. After all, I am part of the coolest walking club on the planet whose mission is to get more people walking to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am all for whatever it takes, and I think many people benefit from the motivation and support a device provides that they may not have without it. But, a Fitbit is just a tool.
There are two likely scenarios associated with owning a fitness tracking device: 1) people lose interest and throw the thing in the drawer after a few weeks or months, or 2) people get so obsessed with the readings on the device, they lose track of their original goal – to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle. (Though, anyone who knows me knows even slightly knows how obsessed I can get with a fitness goal. When preparing for my first couple marathons, I was a slave to the training schedule. Not a good thing in retrospect).
My gripe with the Fitbit, which is not unlike other fitness gizmos, exercise equipment and quick-fix diets, is that I don’t want people to get caught up in a number on a gadget, which, in the end, is arbitrary. For GVWC members, we already have the commitment and discipline to be in a regular weekly exercise program. After all, three to six days a week, we get our heart rates up in 30- to 60-minute sessions. I don’t believe walking around the kitchen 18 times while cooking makes us any fitter. Taking those steps isn’t strenuous to make a difference in our health or fitness. It just gives us a bigger number on a gadget.
On the other hand, for those who sit around the house or at their desk all day long, taking those extra steps is beneficial. As my dad would say – it beats a blank.
So, let’s get back to my head football coach story. He was running up and down the sidelines for 60 minutes. Great exercise! Having the Fitbit didn’t cause him to lose weight or become any fitter. Running the sidelines did. That is part of his exercise program—his routine—every Saturday and maybe during practices, too. The activity makes the coach fit, not the Fitbit. In the end, it is up to each one us to make exercise a routine – Fitbit or not.
The New York Times recently published a great article that discusses the benefits and “the dark side” of the Fitbit.
2016 Steps Challenge
Our very own Walk With a Doc, Dr. Steph Ladson-Wofford, has a new challenge for 2016. Her 2015 challenge of 1,000 miles for the year was a great success. This one is even more challenging and has gained lots of excitement. Since I am getting this announcement out two weeks late, anyone who joins can get a 4% correction to their final results. (I hope that is ok Dr. Steph!)
The Challenge? Three Million steps for the year!! That is an average of 8,500 steps per day. Plus, you must also get in 72 hours of cross training, such as Pilates, weight-training, Zumba, etc. (Man cannot live healthy by steps alone!)
So, if you want to enter the challenge (you will need some type of activity tracking device), email Dr. Steph at email@example.com for details and helpful hints to the challenge. It will make those Saturday morning commitments to the GVWC that much more important.
Can you imagine? 3,000,000 steps in one year!
New GVWC Apparel Available
In the next week or so, please be on the lookout for a special GVWC email with order form for additional GVWC apparel. I will be placing t-shirt orders for new members (I already have your sizes), and all members will have chance to order those shirts, plus a long-sleeve version, hoodie, and a 3-season jacket. The email will show samples of the garments with prices. So, if you are thinking of joining the Club, this is a great time to get your t-shirt with your membership, and a chance to order additional garb.
Thinking With Your Feet
I thought the expression was “thinking on your feet,” meaning the ablility to think quickly to provide a correct answer or solution. Now, maybe the expression should be to “thinking with your feet.” You will see what I mean by this very interesting article in Columbus Business First (and submitted to me by Nancy Traub) about how we all can keep our brains in top form by walking. Here is the article with a video. It gets a little scientific, but I like the conclusions. Thanks, Nancy, for the contribution!
Renew Your GVWC Membership for 2016
I hope everyone will keep their GVWC membership for 2016. The renewal is $10. A check can be made to the German Village Walking Club and mailed to 41 W. Frankfort Street, Columbus, Ohio 43206. Or, if you prefer to go Old School, you can give me 10 bucks at one of our walks. I look forward to everyone continuing their GVWC membership this coming year.
Motivation of the Week
Hope to see you all on Saturday. And, as always, whatever you do, finish strong!
German Village Walking Club gratefully acknowledges our