Moving With Google Fit

Lethargy feels like the mayonnaise that won’t squeeze out of the plastic bottle. To get unstuck, get movin’! So I’ve been ramping up my fitness. When the Summer sun isn’t trying to kill me in a Texas heatwave, I’ve been outside literally taking steps towards my exercise goals.

Walk This Way

Earlier this month, I wrote about Google buying FitBit, and I related that to my need for fitness. During this Covid–19 virus imbroglio, my YMCA closed. And after it reopened partially, my karate class was not resumed.

So what could I do without my martial arts practice to keep pushing my body? I decided that I didn’t need to repair or replace my bike or buy a fitness tracker to get movin’. I already have all I need.

A good pair of shoes.

Also, I happen to have a smartphone with built-in GPS and an Accelerometer to track my movements. With those two sensors, you kind of get the same results as a Pedometer: step counting.

So my anti-sedentary stance begins with the Google Fit app on my phone. With it, I also tried other apps: FitBit, MapMyWalk and MapMyRun.

All I must do is have my phone in my pocket when I’m on the move!

Also: hydrate. Then rehydrate.

The FitBit app is loaded. It’s almost too much. And without a connected tracker, it’s weaksauce. The MapMyWalk app is nice, but not as simple or nice as the Google Fit app. The one thing I wanted with MapMy… was a map showing the path I walked.

Google Fit, updated this Spring, not only records my walking paths, it does it automatically! It detects when I’m walking a long distance. But I usually “start a workout” to be sure. I’m deliberate when I go for a walk anyways.

For now, I walk with mixed intermittent jogging, just to get my heart rate up. It’s been too hot to all-out jog. One thing I’ve tried is reading on my kindle while walking, which totally works. And I sometimes listen to a podcast with lightweight earbuds.

So I’m lovin’ the Google Fit app with its new Heart Points that are supported by the American Heart Association! Also, it’s accurate at counting my steps! In a step-count test of 100, the Fit app logged 104 steps. Not bad!

Overall, Google Fit is super simple. Step Count and Heart Points are the two main metrics. There are others, but you’ve got just those two rings to close each day. I set mine as a baseline, the minimum I should do as routine.

Now in my early 40’s, I’ve got to adjust to whatever fitness activity I can. These days, my lower back tells me things I don’t want to hear; I give it Advil to mute it.

So walking is easier than jogging, better on the knees for example. And you can do enough to help prevent heart disease. I already have a disease (celiac); I don’t need another one. I’ll warm up to jogging more once the weather cools down!

Let me take this back to the smartwatch/fitness tracker question.

My phone handily includes two movement recording sensors: GPS and Accelerometer. Together they act like a Pedometer. But there’s one more sensor I would like to have, something that monitors my heart rate!

Step counting, meet Pulse counting.

Since I refuse to strap a seat-belt like thing to my chest, I must opt for a geek friendly smartwatch or…a FitBit.

I won’t rehash that topic – see my other article – but I would like something on my wrist that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Forward March

The best point of all is this: I’m now movin’! And I hope it becomes a habit that sticks throughout each season. It’s the easiest thing to do, just start walking. Pick myself up from the chair and pick up the pace, one foot in front of the other.

After one week, I already feel my metabolism boosted; hunger comes on faster and easier. I feel a little better overall too, well at least sometimes. But I’m encouraged.

Let me encourage you too! Regular exercise, even a little, helps boost your mood and it can help you sleep more soundly at night.

Lace up your shoes and get movin’!

What do you think?