Thursday, August 15, 2013

Improvement Through Data - Fitness

As someone who has improved their finances by utilizing data, I am a fan of tracking data.  For our personal finances, we use Quicken to track our spending, easily downloaded from the Wells Fargo web site.  We also utilize an Excel spreadsheet to track our annual savings goals (when we were killing our $55,000 in unsecured debt we also used Excel to track our progress).

My employer has a fitness/health initiative (designed to reduce health insurance costs) and they recently offered use of a FitBit Zip which keeps track of steps, distance and calories burned through exercise.  I recently set mine up and it is illuminating to see how little I move even though I exercise regularly and make an effort to walk during my day.  On the days I exercise, walk 45 minutes three times a week, I accumulate about 7,500 steps which is considered light active. My goal is 10,000 steps per day which would push me into the active status

On days I don't exercise I only get about 3,500 steps although I do, already, take breaks during the day to get out from behind my desk and I try to take the stairs into and out of my office.  Under 5000 steps per day can indicate a sedentary lifestyle sedentary lifestyle and the associated risk factors related to same.

I think the idea of tracking my activities will make me more accountable, to myself, and is likely to increase my activity.  I know that I respond well to tracking my data and I'm interested in seeing how utilizing the FitBit can help me in this regard.

How about you, do you use any of these methods to track activity?  Does tracking work for you?  


Frugal Coconut said...

The company I work for launched a wellness program last year. I have call sessions set up regularly with my wellness coach and that definitely holds me accountable because I'm setting goals and reporting whether I meet them ... although the wellness coach tracks it all for me. ;) I've had a lot of success with it overall.

Anonymous said...

I also love tracking data, and have also turned from tracking our financial data to tracking my exercise/movement data. I've been using an iPhone app called Moves and have found the same thing that you did! If I don't go out for my regular walk, then I am incredibly sedentary. It does motivate to see how many steps I actually take, and I do try to get out more.
- A reader in upstate NY