I could sugar coat this whole situation that we are all in, but plain and simple: this sucks. We all are in the same boat...or different boats, same situation. If we were in the same boat, that wouldn't be social distancing and we'd have a bigger problem at hand. This is a hard situation for everyone everywhere.
It is easy to allow ourselves to feel bad about all this and not want to do anything but see how many flour and sugar concoctions we create. The idea of working out can feel daunting or limiting because your normal habits have been disrupted. However, it is important to understand that we humans have amazing capabilities to adapt to situations.
We adapt seasonally to being active in the rain, snow, sleet and sun. We adapt daily to work situations and home situations. We adapt to eating different foods. We adapt to being placed into different environments. We are capable of adapting to a global lockdown/quarantine. It is easy to make excuses and easy to be lazy. There are days I don't want to get out of bed or push to get those steps in. Depends on where you are in the world and what your housing situation is can affect how you get them in.
But in the end we all have a choice to make an effort to stay active.
I have always thought the world would be a better place if everyone ran marathons. (Let’s keep in mind, this isn’t even my favorite distance.) If you took a moment to put this into perspective; 45,000+ people (the Runners) gather together from all walks of life, different jobs, different countries, different religions and political beliefs, shapes and sizes, you name it – DIFFERENT. There is an additional 1 million people (the Supporters) who stand along the sidelines as Runners make their way through this 26.2 mile journey to cheer them on, who are also just as different as the next.
For this day it doesn’t matter how different you are, or what your beliefs are; You all move together toward One Goal. It might be everyone has a different pace or for a different reason, but that doesn’t matter; You all are moving together to accomplish One Goal, the Same Goal, to Finish the Marathon. Side by side through sweat, spit, bloody nipples and tears; if you see a fellow Runner start to falter – you push them along. You encourage them to continue. If that isn’t enough, the Supporters are there to keep pushing you on through every step – as they yell your name, tell you your beautiful, and remind you of why you are doing this in the first place. You don’t know any of these people – so why would they do it?
Let’s talk about the Supporters for a minute; they sit in the rain, the dead heat, or freezing cold to cheer these Runners on and they want nothing out of it. Sitting for hours, running all over the city moving point to point to catch a glimpse of the moving herd and continue to cheer and ring their cowbells and give out hi-fives – they will do anything it takes to help keep the Runners moving toward their goal. When a Runner is down – the Supporters come to the rescue. It is quite amazing when you think about it.
It doesn't matter where in the world you go; The Runners and Supporters are the same. From Mexico to South Africa, France, Alabama, California…the list goes on and on.
I find it exhilarating to see this type of unity from so many people who know nothing about each other and during those hours of that day, it doesn't matter. But I also find it sad as to why I don’t see that type of behavior carry into every day life. Why someone cannot help an older person get onto the bus or give up their seat on the train. Or why when someone it hurt, they cannot simply stop to ask if they need anything. I don’t understand.
Marathon Running might be looked upon as a brother-sisterhood of crazy people who try to convince themselves running 26.2 miles is fun, and yes maybe that part of it. But I think if people became aware of the impact they have on one another throughout their race, Runners and Supporter alike, and took that same type of attitude into their everyday life; the world would be a better place.
Decades ago the first fitness tracker came onto the market as a pedometer. Then came the heart rate monitor. Even the simple fitness watch with just stopwatch was an incredible asset to runners for decades. In fact, that is where I started; running on a 400 meter track and keeping splits from my watch in my head to figure my pacing. As my distances got longer, I learned to calculate distance by my pace splits. It is something I still do in my head to this day. But I love how much technology has helped us take the guesswork out of our movement patterns, motivating us to move more, giving us a realistic look at our input and output.
Call me a loyalist, I have used Garmin for almost a 17 years, but that doesn’t mean I have haven’t tried other brands. In fact, when fitness tracker companies such as Jawbone and FitBit came onto the market, I tried them out to see what type of data they had to offer and to be able to have an honest opinion when clients and gym members when they asked me for my professional opinion. At the time I was currently using a Garmin Forerunner as well for my triathlon training and competition. I found them to be of great motivation for daily basics of wellness. But as soon as Garmin put out their vivofit, I had it on my wrist within a week of its launch. It was the integration of data with Garmin Connect and other apps which I found to be superior.
I spent months tracking gym members and asking them what they were doing with their data. Most of them said, “I just try to get to 10,000 steps like they say.” I always like to ask who is ‘they’. No one really seems to know. Regardless, it was a good start and more importantly it was great to see members were becoming more conscious of the need to move more, thus creating a change, a new good habit. This was good. But what else could you do with that data collected?
This is where fitness tracking really got personal and interesting to me. Living in the heart of Chicago, walking to work every day, training for triathlons and teaching fitness classes five days a week kept me very active and allowed me to be able to eat more than the average person. Months before I made my full time move to India, I knew my work habits and movement patterns were going to change drastically and we all know we don’t have the friendliest walk about cities here in India. On top of that, my food was going to completely change to an Indian diet. My lifestyle was about to change and I didn’t want to become less fit or gain weight based on less movement and different meals.
I was proactive and gathered 4 months of data from my Garmin vivofit.
1. Steps: daily, weekly and monthly
2. Sleep: how many hours a night I averaged and the percentage of deep sleep I was getting.
The data I gathered was fundamental to my health. My first week living in India I just allowed myself to live what I thought would be my ‘normal’ life. I immediately had to make changes. Steps dropped by over 70%. My sleep on the other hand was frequently interrupted by barking dogs at all hours of the night, which took months to be able to sleep through.
It took a very conscious effort to be able to maintain an active lifestyle like I once knew. While I only average around 17,000 per day now days, I eat less and more fresh. I have not gained weight, once been sick or lost a high level of fitness. My training has changed, but also have my goals. Overall I have adapted and maintained a healthy lifestyle and a seamless transition from one culture to another without it affecting my health.
Now my lifestyle consists of an extreme amount of traveling and my Garmin vivomove is an essential travel piece I cannot be without. It is my staple Garmin piece, because not only does it looks great, but also gives daily information which is valuable to everyone and anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle. The way Garmin Connect integrates to all I do with helping me maintain my lifestyle is incredible and unlike any other brand I have tried.
I love my other watches like my Fenix and even my old Forerunner (which I have used to the point where it might be on its last charge), but these are for my training. They give an entirely different level of data and information which I will write about at a later time.
Fitness Trackers give us a realistic look at how we are truly living our life. When we humans were made to move and we live in a society which restricts us from that, they really can help us maintain and improve our quality of life. Having qualified trainers and professionals who know what to do with that important information and help you assimilate it even makes the purpose of tracking more valuable. How do you use the data you collect?
I have had a lot of opportunities over the years to get to work with other companies who works with tracking technology and have always turned them down. To me, I was hoping I get an opportunity to be tied to the Garmin Brand. Being a consumer of the brand for this long, nine watches and two GPS devices later, I am delighted to stand by the Garmin name.