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Fitbitting is Totally a Sport, Okay?

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When I was home with my third baby, I went on a lot of walks in both my neighborhood and luxury parks like the arboretum without any green circles filling up and exploding confetti to tell me how awesome I was because of how many steps I was taking. It’s hard to think how I managed that, just taking walks enjoying nature and the neighbor’s holiday lights display, missing out on all those green circle confetti explosions…

Then I got a Fitbit.

I started my relationship with my digital, wrist-worn step monitor, also know as a Fitbit, a year ago, and it has changed my life. Now I have a sport again. It’s not like the sports of my youth, the two hour swim practices I spent my summer mornings suffering through and then stupidly recovering from by eating a pan of brownies, or the sports of my early adult years, like the capoeira martial arts fight circles where once I got a double knee bruising so bad I hobbled around for days. (I also kicked a girl in the ribs. We were singing songs while all this was going on. It’s cool. You should check it out.)

There is a lot I do for Fitbit, for my sport. I am very dedicated–so much so that I hope the neighbors haven’t noticed through any open blinds at night.

No, my new sport, Fitbitting, isn’t like any of my previous sports. It’s even more demanding.

Fitbit lives with me 24/7. It is constantly monitoring me and telling me whether I need 4,335 more steps or 4,127 more steps until I complete my goal for the day. It tells me I need to monitor how much water I drink, and how many miles I’ve walked from the washing machine to the bedroom to the other bedroom to the dryer to the bedroom to the kitchen… and on and on.

See? It requires constant attention. It expects me to do my best. If I don’t, then I don’t get any green confetti stars, and that day sucks.

Oh and it watches over my sleep. But not in any creepy way, it just wants me to be a better Fitbitter. I have to get sleep if I’m going to have the energy to earn my stars. Every morning I can check how many times the baby woke me up, and when I got up to pee. See how integral this is to my self-awareness, my very being?

There is a lot I do for Fitbit, for my sport. I am very dedicated–so much so that I hope the neighbors haven’t noticed through any open blinds at night.

When I brush my teeth I jog in place. When I wash the dishes I jog in place. This also happens when I wait for my coffee to brew, move the laundry to the dryer, and when I cut apples, an advanced skill I’m very proud to say that I’ve achieved. (It goes something like this: slice, jog jog jog, slice, jog jog jog jog, slice… it’s the only way to fit apple cutting in.)

On days when it’s needed (most ones), I do little jogs as I work around the kitchen, jog-jogging from the oven to the cutting board to the sink, and so on. Once my mom commented what a design problem it is that the refrigerator is so far away from the sink in our kitchen… I grinned and thought, She’s not a real Fitbitter, is she?

A real Fitbitter would see the opportunity in every inefficiency. Forgot your wallet in the car? Oh well, that’s 100 more steps.

Made too few copies of something at work? Oopsies, there’s 300 more steps for you.

Need the apple from the fridge to wash but you’re already at the sink and have to go back across your kitchen? Do that every day for a year and you’re adding a whopping 250,000 steps to your totals.

Have to take two cars for everyone to get to the airport with our luggage? Oh be magnanimous; isn’t it better if you just walk so everyone else fits? It’s a 100,000,000 step goldmine!

A real Fitbitter would also know that jog-jogging in place while folding laundry is like an entire workout, a cashout of steps. Once my ten-year-old sporty son saw me in the middle of such training and criticized, “You’re cheating! You’re only getting steps cause you’re running in place! You’re not actually running!”

“Oh my dear naive son. Just because you do sports that are Olympically-recognized doesn’t give you the right to demean my movement as cheating. You know that everybody expects me to sit down on the sideline in a folding chair for the duration of your soccer game or basketball game getting a big fat 0 number of steps while you run freely back and forth and get like 10,000 steps in an hour, with everybody cheering for you. Can’t you appreciate your step-sucking fortune and not dampen my Fitbitting endorphins here? Someday throngs will tune in on their Apple Watches and cheer for their favorite Fitbitter as they jog-jog their way to their daily step goals, but until then the only option I have to get my steps is jogging in place with the laundry while nobody cheers for me!”

Well, nobody except that little green confetti-exploding circle at the end of the day. It’s so proud of me.

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