When I first received my Fitbit on Christmas of 2015, my goal was to use the tracker to help me lose weight. At that time, my job was a full-time student and a part-time waitress. I had previously completed some research detailing the health benefits of staying ‘active’ for ten minutes each hour. Even if you work out for an hour a day, it’s the other 23 hours out of the day that may damage your health.
This research took me by surprise because I thought I was doing good at the time; I was getting 17,000 steps on average when I worked. I knew I would have to come up with a game plan because I wasn’t always going be a waitress.
That research, in collaboration with my Fitbit, completely changed my way of thinking.
A close family friend of mine suffered a heart attack due to their sedentary work environment. This news took me by surprise because the friend appeared to be doing everything right with exercise and eating. I realized I needed to make a change and my Fitbit was going to help me do that.
My mindset transformed from weightless into wellness.
My first Fitbit did not have the notifications every hour, like the current one that I have, but I tried to get up and move every hour using my own phone timer. I became very mindful of how much time I’d spent being active and how many steps I was taking a day. I also became aware of my sleep cycles and just how much sleep I needed every day for me to be able to complete my step and activity goal for the day.
My Fitbit has done more than improve my physical well-being and change my goal; it has helped me conquer anxiety daily.
As we all have heard, college students suffer from anxiety throughout college due to the stress of classes, grades, work/life balances, and social outings. All of us have struggled through juggling every portion of our life and because of that just over 40 percent of college students suffer from anxiety.
I’ve never had issues getting out of bed in the morning, but I do struggle with getting enough sleep. With the sleep notifications and a play-by-play of my sleep cycles, my Fitbit helped me focus on getting eight hours of sleep at a minimum.
The Fitbit I have also gives you the option for using the Relax option directly from the Fitbit menu. The app prompts you to take two minutes just to focus on your breathing. I was not using this option at the beginning because I thought it was unnecessary until midterms rolled around and I was in the last semester of my capstone. My professor focused so much on professional development that he booked my team to attend a three-day conference the weekend before my midterms.
I felt the usual signs of anxiety – my body got hot and then cold immediately, my hands became fists, and I could no longer focus on anything around me. I turned the Relax option on, excused myself from my capstone team, and took a breather. The best thing I remember from that moment was realizing that I may not be able to control everything in my life, but I can certainly control how I react to the situation.
I do understand that my Fitbit is not the alpha and the omega for accuracy, but I do believe that it is one of the closest wellness devices that we have. I believe that Fitbit has done an excellent job of making it a fun ‘game’ to complete your goals for the day as a result of the feedback and challenges that they have set up within the app. Fitbit has created a community of individuals who love taking care of themselves and love to see other taking care of themselves as well. We are all in this together.
My Fitbit was the best gift I received that year because it introduced me into a whole different lifestyle. I no longer compare myself to others and I no longer put myself down for being my own unique size and shape. Not only have I identified family and friends to help me throughout my journey, I also have my Fitbit, which is always there encouraging me to improve my wellbeing through movement and activity. Every hour of the day.
Guest blogger, Megan McKinney graduated from Ball State University in 2017 with a degree in computer information systems. She currently resides in Chicago, IL.