How my Fitbit makes working from home easier and more productive
This fitness tracker actually gets me moving throughout the day.
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Every hour on the hour before the coronavirus pandemic, I could be seen around the office (ah, the good old days) walking back and forth between the breakroom to my desk. Why? I needed to hit my hourly step goal set by my fitness tracker. This reminder was the one thing that got me off my butt during the day. Even though I consider myself a pretty active person, before I had my fitness tracker, I found myself falling into a sedentary trap while at work. I would just sit on my computer and barely move until it was time to eat lunch or go home.
Now that I’ve been working from home for the past two-plus months, my Fitbit is the only thing that’s getting me moving. If you’ve been struggling with being sedentary throughout the day, especially being stuck at home with no meetings or co-workers’ desks to walk to, I recommend getting yourself a fitness tracker, too. Here’s why.
How my Fitbit is helping me in isolation
My fitness tracker has a pre-set step goal of 10,000 steps, which I didn’t find too hard to meet before quarantine. I would walk to my barre classes, the gym, Trader Joe’s, coffee shops, the 10 minutes to my bus stop—and if I was feeling extra ambitious, the 40 minutes to my office. But now, my commute to my "gym" and "office" consists of an approximate 10-foot walk from my bedroom to my living room. So achieving this lofty goal has been more challenging, to say the least.
While having a reminder of how little you’re moving throughout the day could be anxiety-inducing for some, it keeps me motivated to move. There are a variety of goals you can set to meet on a Fitbit, including a goal of "active hours," which consists of walking 250 steps every hour for nine hours throughout the day. At precisely 10 minutes at the end of the hour, my wrist will buzz signaling me to get moving. I’ve been pretty consistent at keeping it up—aside from when I get into the “work zone” or have a long meeting that I can't step away from.
Now, 250 steps doesn’t seem like a lot, and it only takes me about two to three minutes of walking back and forth to conquer them, but doing this every hour adds up. Think about it: If I was to sit in my desk all for those nine hours, I’d be missing out on approximately 2,250 steps (give or take a few hundred steps from walking to the bathroom, grabbing several snacks, and refilling my water bottle) that my Fitbit urges me to take. That’s nearly a quarter of my daily step goal and these mini walk breaks help me reach it every day.
For the rest of my looming step goal, my Fitbit has motivated me to take a 30-minute walk during my lunch break or go for a post-work stroll as the weather permits. Plus, I use this time to call or FaceTime friends and family or listen to a podcast or audiobook, so it helps me stay connected and adds some extra value outside of the good old-fashioned movement.
Another motivator? Some friendly competition between those who I’m quarantined with. Although it makes me jealous when I find out one of my Fitbit friends took a long walk in the morning, it also makes me more eager to go on a post-dinner walk instead of going back to binging The Sopranos.
How small walking breaks help me focus on work
While it might seem distracting to get up every single hour throughout the workday, I find that these little breaks help me come back to my work a little more refreshed and focused compared to taking a five-minute social media break that I’m always tempted to do instead.
While working from home, I’ve found that I’m more inclined to work longer hours, and I’m less likely to take a real break (it’s something I’m working on, believe me). There are no coworkers around asking to grab coffee or lunch—just a screen beckoning me to return to writing or editing. That’s where my 30-minute midday walk break comes in. While I’m still tempted to start working right after eating, or worse, while I’m eating, moving a bit before diving back in makes me more productive.
Personally, I find that coming back to my computer with a clear head and a little bit of endorphins from a power walk helps me be more productive, even though I’m “losing out” on 30 minutes of work time.
Most importantly, these breaks are a huge factor in maintaining a balance in my mental health and help me take a second to breathe during these stressful times.
The best fitness tracker for moving during the day
As I mentioned before, I own a Fitbit—the Charge 3 to be exact. This was our favorite fitness tracker at Reviewed until we tested the latest version, the Fitbit Charge 4. It’s the best fitness tracker we’ve ever used because of it’s intuitive app, easy-to-read screen, and new GPS integration that makes it more suitable for going on walks or runs without your phone. Plus, it’s pretty stylish with its interchangeable bands, which is always a bonus.
While I believe that a fitness tracker is enough to help you get in your steps without spending an exorbitant amount of money, if you’re looking for something fancier with a little more bells and whistles, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch we’ve ever tested. Like a Fitbit, it tracks your steps, but it also has movement rings to meet (similar to the active hours on the Fitbit) alongside the ability to make phone calls, send texts, and get a slew of notifications.
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