Learn­ing to love the Fit­bit

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Iwith joy as if it has won the Lot­tery.

At a time when we are all be­ing told how vi­tal ex­er­cise is to our health and well­be­ing - es­pe­cially as we get older - it is a won­der­ful lit­tle gad­get.

It gets into your sub-con­scious and ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vates you want to clock up the miles. Of course, the ad­van­tage is that you do not have to rush, the speed at which you cover the dis­tance is ir­rel­e­vant.

But you do find your­self pop­ping to the Post Of­fice, the li­brary or the cor­ner shop on foot rather than in the car. The added in­cen­tive is to reach that mag­i­cal tar­get.

Sons one, two and three all have the de­vice and no doubt text or Facebook each other with their lat­est facts and fig­ures.

That’s not for me, but I have to say the daily wear­ing of the Fit­bit day. And the lit­tle wrist­band ap­pli­ca­tion cer­tainly tries to help me achieve that goal.

A buzz re­minds me that I have been sit­ting com­fort­ably for quite a while and sug­gests it is time to stride out.

It also buzzes to say “Come on now, let’s crack on with some more steps be­cause you are clos­ing in on your tar­get”.

And when I do make the 10,000 steps mark, the lit­tle chap buzzes t was a long-stand­ing joke in the Red­head house­hold.

My three grown-up sons are all very ac­tive, into their var­i­ous sports and reg­u­larly at­tend­ing gym ses­sions.

I used to be the same. But now I’m older.

How­ever, I do love gar­den­ing and at least one day each week I spend a lot of time work­ing on my gar­den, my al­lot­ment, or in­deed, other peo­ple’s prop­er­ties.

It was with great pride that I told sons one, two and three, that I would bet I walked around 10 miles ev­ery day I did gar­den­ing work.

They gave the sort of ‘yes Dad’ laugh which sug­gested ‘hu­mour the old chap but I ex­pect it’s prob­a­bly about three miles if he is lucky!’

At Christ­mas they clubbed to­gether and bought for me a Fit­bit.

For the unini­ti­ated, the Fit­bit they bought me is like a wrist­watch, only a lit­tle slim­mer. I wish I could say the same.

It tells me the date and the time and how many steps I’ve taken dur­ing the day, con­vert­ing that num­ber into miles walked. It also tells me var­i­ous other pieces of in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing the num­ber of calo­ries burned off.

If I wear it in bed it tells me the time I went to sleep, the time I woke up and on how many oc­ca­sions I was rest­less or awake.

It is ex­cel­lent tech­nol­ogy and very use­ful.

But ba­si­cally, for me, it is about the steps I take and the dis­tance I cover.

The tar­get is 10,000 steps ev­ery

and con­stant check­ing of data is con­ta­gious.

By the way, on the last four full days of gar­den­ing I’ve com­pleted, I have man­aged to walk be­tween nine and 12 miles on all four oc­ca­sions.

Not bad for an old ‘un I reckon.

Liv­ing Streets, the UK char­ity for ev­ery­day walk­ing, is urg­ing the pub­lic to ‘Try20’ dur­ing May, the des­ig­nated Na­tional Walk­ing month.

Its cam­paign en­cour­ages peo­ple to walk for 20 min­utes ev­ery day through­out the month and ob­serve the big dif­fer­ences small steps can make.

Last year the char­ity saw thou­sands across the UK pledge to walk for 20 min­utes a day.

A fol­low-up sur­vey in De­cem­ber found that 75 per cent were still walk­ing for 20 min­utes a day and re­port­ing tales of weight loss, money sav­ing, im­proved so­cial life and in­creased fit­ness.

Liv­ing Streets rec­om­mends walk­ing as a free, easy and fun way to im­prove your health which means a lower risk of con­tract­ing heart dis­ease, cer­tain can­cers, de­pres­sion and Type Two di­a­betes, to aid­ing weight loss and re­duc­ing feel­ings of stress and iso­la­tion. Its key mes­sages are: Add a 20-minute walk into your day.

Twenty min­utes of walk­ing a day is a good step to­wards achiev­ing 150 min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity a week as rec­om­mended by the coun­try’s Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer.

You don’t have to go out of your way to ex­er­cise, walk your daily jour­ney to work, to the shops or skip a stop on pub­lic trans­port.

Get­ting peo­ple out of their cars and on their feet is part of the so­lu­tion to the coun­try’s conges­tion and air pol­lu­tion prob­lems.

Rate your walk and help to im­prove spa­ces and cre­ate a walk­ing na­tion where ev­ery­one can en­joy the ben­e­fits the sim­ple act brings on streets that are fit for walk­ing.

Key dates dur­ing May, Na­tional Walk­ing Month, are: May 15-19 Walk to School Week and May 16 Happy Shoes­day, when pupils, par­ents and teach­ers will raise money for walk­ing projects by wear­ing their happy shoes and do­nat­ing £1.

ABOVE: Fit­bit Surge fit­ness su­per watch, £199, Pilch.

Fit­bit Flex, £79.99 from fire­

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