Sunday Thoughts (what a relief!)

At first, I was a little sad.

Then, and it surprised me to feel this way, I was… relieved.

For more than a year, I wore a fitness tracker on my wrist. I saw it as a game to play against myself.

And it was definitely rewarding on those days where I was active. Look at all those steps!

But after a while, it became more of a chore than a reward.

I felt guilty if I took it off.

I actually got angry when I thought I wasn’t getting fully recognized for a day’s activity.

I caught myself dragging Ellie for one more turn around the block (in a downpour!)… just because I was a “few steps short.”

And if I forgot to recharge it. It was a total letdown.

So when I realized that my fitness tracking band was critically ill… then DOA. I felt a sense of loss. But then I was glad it was dead.

Goodbye, “shame tracker!”

Now I love data, and I like keeping track of things.

And if you’re the same, having some “tech” way of keeping tabs on your fitness can be fun and motivating.

But when you’re finding yourself a slave to your GPS device, or Apple Watch, or any one of a 100 fitness band like devices, it may be time to unplug.

Because regular exercise isn’t just about pace, or steps, or time spent moving.

It’s about being present, and listening to your body.

Technology has a hard time measuring stress, or fatigue, or overtraining, or the fact that you’re about to come down with something.

If it’s 95 degrees out, your band isn’t likely to tell you to slow down.

I still use my GPS watch to know how far I’m going if I set out on a new route. But I also leave it at home more often now.

Just to focus on the music in my ears, or the sounds around me, or the thoughts in my head.

I don’t need a “robo-nagger” to beat me over the head with fitness data.

Sometimes it’s fun to remember what it was like to exercise for pleasure. Nobody measured your step count when you were a kid, running through the fields.

It’s not a bad idea to focus on the joy of movement once in a while. And it can actually make you better at it, which seems counter-intuitive but the science suggests just that.

A small study of cyclists found that those who focused on hitting a certain measurement – like pace on their watch – felt like they were really exerting themselves.

But those that let go of specific “tech” things and focused on their breathing, or form… or nothing at all… felt better during their ride, and get this: performed as much as 10% better.

Imagine that. Better results with less worry.

Maybe I’ll finally stop thinking about replacing my little wrist-nagger.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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