Archive for the ‘sleep’ Tag

A New Exercise Tracker and Watch: Fitbit HR

photo by Guillermo Murcia

photo by Guillermo Murcia

I have been wearing the Fitbit HR for the past week. I’m enjoying it very much. Adapting to wearing a watch again has been the main challenge; my wrist is not used to the constricting feeling of a band around it. The LED lights felt painful, like a burning sensation, the first time I wore the watch. Now my skin has desensitized. I don’t notice any burning sensations anymore from the pulsing green lights penetrating my skin, measuring the flow of blood under the surface. If I am already wearing the watch when I turn on the heart rate function I feel a tickling sensation when the lights first come on. When I put my awareness to that area of my body I can still sense the lights flashing, but when busy or otherwise engaged I do not notice the lights pulsing. Because of this I choose to turn the heart rate function off for most of the day and use it mainly when exercising, to watch the heart rate recover. It works well in this function to track the general tendencies of the pumping of the blood. I receive an instantaneous report, as opposed to the 30 – 40 second delay experienced using the sensors on a treadmill, which of course aren’t available in the comfort of my living room when I am running in place, doing jumping jacks, or stepping.

I’ve set the watch to show the heart rate when I tap the watch so it’s very convenient to read. For instance as I sit typing my heart rate is a 76 beats per minute, that’s a bit higher than it ought to be but as my sleep was not so restful last night I’m unsurprised.Being able to view my resting HR is fun. It will be interesting to see if I can drop it below 62 for my average resting rate if I was too increase the consistency of my cardio workouts. Three or four times a week, instead of on to three times plus a few sprints to keep up with kids on bikes or trying to get to the school bus stop on time.

As I do the waves having a stop watch on my wrist is so much more convenient than using the stopwatch located on my phone and much less obtrusive when working with my clients. Also having the tap function set to heart rate makes accessing my heart rate instantaneous rather than needing to scroll through the time of day and the steps taken first.

Ever since my Polar Heart Rate monitor watch broke about 8 years ago I have been using my phone as my watch. After having children, I needed to be available if a caregiver or now the school needs to reach me in an emergency, and the phone has been ever present. I have never enjoyed doing this, as I do find phones and especially smart phones can be unduly distracting whether it is my phone or a clients phone. It’s also cumbersome and obvious when I’m checking the time in the middle of a session. With the Fitbit HR I can leave my phone in my bag or tucked away in a pocket when I am with a client. If I have an incoming call the watch vibrates and shows the caller id. I can put the distraction of the phone further away from myself. It would be nice if text messages could appear on it (after all more people seem to text than call these days) like a caller id with the message too, but for that I suppose I’ll need an apple watch. For a thorough review of the apple watch as a health and fitness tracker click here.

An additional function that I really enjoy is the sleep mode which does not need to be put into sleep mode; no button to push or tapping to do to get the device to record or come out of sleep mode. However, if you get up in the middle of the night like I sometimes do, the Fitbit will call that the waking up and you then need to add a second sleep log for when you fall back asleep until final wake up in the morning. During sleep I find that the weirdness of wearing a watch becomes more pronounced. I rarely wear jewelry or anything so I find myself wanting to remove the Fitbit HR in the middle of the night. It feels constricting and bothersome on my wrist. Needless to say on the nights when I remove during my sleep the results are not so accurate, but as with the pulsing of the LED lights my body is becoming acclimated to wearing a watch.

The rest of the Fitbit HR functions are like the Fitbit One, which my son and husband are both using when they can. I will post about their experiences in the future.

For more detailed reviews of the Fitbit HR you can go here and here.

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The Giant Boot: 2 Weeks

This post began very differently half a week ago when my foot was beginning to feel much better; I had even woken up one morning and had no pain for 45 minutes. Unfortunately that was the beginning of a day of over 11,000 steps and ended with little sleep due to the New Year’s Eve festivities. Since then my foot has been no fun and ended Thursday night on the lowest note possible when I again logged over 10,000 steps.

I hope I only have to wear the boot for only three weeks, since its basically been no fun lugging around this super unstylish boot. However, there have been a couple of positives: I have been stretching almost every night and most mornings (just to get the kinks caused by the boot out of my body and, since I’m on the floor already, a few sets of push-ups and abdominal exercises) and while on winter break the kids have been spending more time out of the house without me so I can really rest my foot, and my whole self.

My new toy has been a fantastic bonus in that I can easily see which days I am on my feet too long: work days, when I need to run errands, and when I need to take kids anywhere. But then I have the proof available at my fingertips, instead of  just a general sense of having done too much, and can modify my day accordingly. However, now that school and work have recommenced and all my clients have returned from winter break, modifying my day has become a real challenge.

Today I will abide by this need to truly modify my schedule. The kids can clean up their own toys or the toys can rest where they land, the food can be leftovers or prepared foods, and I can sit on the couch and read a book, knit a hat or maybe watch the news or a movie, and I can go to bed before the dishes are washed, after all I am not super woman or even super mom. I can’t do it all especially when I am injured. To the couch I go.

New Toy!

I was given a toy for Christmas: it’s a Fitbit and it is so much fun.

My New Toy  Photo by Guillermo Murcia

My New Toy
Photo by Guillermo Murcia

Remember what a pedometer is? It’s a little box you clip on your waistband and it measures how many steps you take in a day. They have been in use since the mid 1980’s with the generally accepted goal of 10,000 steps a day for most adults. I have had a few different ones over the years, simple, effective, but the Fitbit is different. It’s a twenty-first century pedometer, and so much more. For one thing it’s has a sleek little shape and a soft case that clips to my pants pocket, or bra, or waistline as needed. It measures my steps, tells me how many calories I have burned (not just walking, but being alive, based on my age, weight and gender). How many miles I have walked. How many flights of stairs I have climbed with a 10 flight goal, but, as with the step goal, I can also adjust the number up or down and set my own goal for steps and stairs. And it has a cute name.

My Fitbit also says “HELLO LYNNE,” “SMOOCHES LYNNE,” “GO LYNNE,” and “YOU ROCK LYNNE”; it’s encouraging to have a friend cheering me on when I am trying to be active. While lugging the giant boot around I’m still averaging over 5000 steps a day. So not bad, but half the ideal goal of 10,000 steps and more than my goal for resting my foot.

I can track my activity entirely on the Fitbit on each day and for the past days on the home website, where there is also the option of creating or joining groups. Of course, there is an app for it also!  I record my water intake on the app, and can record my food and activity also. The Fitbit syncs to the phone and it’s just a whole lot of fun. Since I am rarely on my computer the phone app is really helpful and necessary. A great toy for an exercise geek!

The Exercise Geek Photo by Guillermo Murcia

The Exercise Geek
Photo by Guillermo Murcia

Oh, I mustn’t forget the best part. This is what all overtired moms would be interested in: the Fitbit records the amount of time you sleep, and the number of times you wake or are “active” in the night. I’m averaging 36 times a night! No wonder I’m still tired even after being in bed for 8 hours. On the website I can see more details about my sleep patterns, in case I forget at what time a kid woke me up for water, or because the other one needed to be close to her mom. I can also see how long it takes to settle back into sleep after those sweet little wake ups by my lovely children.

As this seems to be a review I guess I should point out a negative: for some reason on the days I ride in a car, or especially the city bus the Fitbit seems to think I have walked many flights of stairs even though I haven’t walked any. The car ride to Vermont equaled 6 flights of stairs and a city bus ride 15 blocks equaled 17! I haven’t explored the food log aspect or the weight loss versus maintain weight tools. I will try those after the winter break so look for the follow up.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Fitbit and received no compensation.

Without a running partner

Today I was in the park with Mateo and ran into my running partner. I have been feeling a bit guilty about not calling her when I have gone running the past few weekends, but I know I would not have been able to keep up with her due to this pregnancy. I didn’t tell her that was why I hadn’t called (I haven’t been sharing the fact that I’m pregnant with everyone I know, still waiting for the first trimester to be complete for that), instead I told her that my time of day was inconsistent (which is also true)…. Her reason was better: that she wants to sleep or read the newspaper with her free time. Good choice especially since she is caring for two little girls under the age of 2 1/2. She mentioned that she missed the activity though and I began to think about it. She is active in her life anyway so missing these morning runs won’t affect her health that much. Same with me, I lead a very active lifestyle even without my added running or workouts. And that is the point, the goal in life, to be active. It’s not just about exercising for an hour three or four times a week. It’s about being physically active on a daily basis: to create an active life. Then if you miss a workout, it doesn’t matter so much, well to the mental health maybe, but not the physical health, not so much.  And sometimes taking time to sleep or read the newspaper is also very important for the mental health.