Compared to the 16k worth of steps I took on Sunday, I have to say that I’m a slacker when I’m at home and doing my own thing. Travel is good for the soul, and I’m happy to have been able to go to Las Vegas to share company with my Aunt for her birthday. I was also thrilled to have company, since I refuse to sit vigil at my Aunt’s bedside while she waits to die. I just don’t have enough patience for that.
So, trying to find ways to keep in gear with the pace of life despite my COPD challenges for shortness of breath and exhaustion, I got a Fitbit. As you can see from the summary above, the Fitbit reporting feature is less than practical. Ideally, I’d want a simple report that shows my daily totals for:
– sleeping / wakefulness / insomnia
– amount of steps taken / peak times
– calories burned / value of activity (always want this low to avoid an exacerbation)
– food log (want to be able to track this online without wiping out Steps / Peak times)
As you can see from the first graphic, above, I prefer to know my number of steps along with my hours of sleep achieved each day. Unfortunately, there is no such report in either the regular or the premium account, so I have to put it together myself as interesting data segments vs. relying on Fitbit to give me some simple options to be able to chart the information relevant to me over time.
In particular, I love the daily activity log, as it helps me to ensure that I’m active, and warns me when I’m doing too much that might exacerbate my underlying breathing difficulties:
As you can see from the above chart, any time I’m getting in worthwhile, sustained movement, the color turns green on the chart. Helpful information, certainly, but all that data is lost if I decide to manually enter my food / calories consumed (don’t ask me why – I’ve given up on using that feature. I write it all down in a manual log, which is frustrating).
Also, I get a great deal of information from the Sleep report chart, but I have to drill down into the individual days in order to see actual details, which is aggravating and wastes time if I’m trying to figure out if there are certain disturbances which happen daily at the same time.
(Weekly sleep report chart):
(Daily sleep report specifics):
Fitbit wants to track me against other people of my same age, weight and gender, and I’m happy to have the information (from a competitive viewpoint), but in the end, given my health, the only one I’m supposed to be competing against is myself:
I mean, it’s interesting to know that 96% of obese women, aged 55 to 64 years sleep more than I do, but in the end, it’s not my reality so it’s not relevant.
Instead, I want to look at those days where I show I’m getting little sleep or no sleep, and then think about relevant external data: air temperature, local noise conditions, barometric pressure, etc. Knowing that I average 1 to 2 days a week with little to zero sleep is a nice confirmation statistic to have, however, it doesn’t help me solve the problem with the data available. Sad. I’d expect so much more from a fitness encouraging tool.
But, all that being said, I’m in the process of ordering a Waterfi modified Fitbit Alta which has been made waterproof, in the hope that I can get back into swimming on a regular basis.
Keeping busy is my best option for staying well, and I’m very pleased that my Fitbit Alta is doing the job to keep my butt in gear (when I pay attention to the prompts) for walking and general movements.
Summer is here (even if it is, technically, still Spring), and I’m doing what I can to keep busy despite the high temperatures and the broiling sun – both of which are better for me than the pouring rain / cold, but which can also cause an exacerbation.
Whatever you do to remain active, fellow COPD sufferers, I hope you find a way to avoid exacerbations and keep healthy despite any underlying health challenges.