I’m such a Fitbit saddo. I get genuinely excited when they bring out a new metric, and the latest one is the 250 steps per hour challenge. You might be thinking that’s not very far at all, and you’d be right – it’s around a tenth of a mile or 190 metres.
So this is a fitness challenge that’s less about the distance and more about the difference moving makes, even in a very small way.
Sitting on your butt is now considered a health supervillian more evil than sugar. One of the largest pieces of research on the issue, which looked at data from nearly 800,000 participants, found that sitting down too much could lead to
- 112% increase in risk of diabetes
- 147% increase in cardiovascular events
- 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
- 49% increase in death due to any cause
This resulted in claims that having a desk job doubles your risk of having heart attack.
Scary stuff. So the 250 steps per hour challenge is like a virtual poke in the butt to make sure you keep moving it. And it’s harder than it sounds. Watch a movie, have a lie in, stay propped up at the bar for a little too long and you just might miss it.
I have a desk job, but I move about plenty too. My daily steps target is 12,000, or just over 5 miles. My weekly goal is 100,000, so really my daily average is at least 14K. So I was surprised to see that under the new metric, I often don’t hit the required 250 steps per hour. Now that I know about the metric, you can see that I’m achieving it (most of the time), but beforehand I wasn’t, despite the fact that I was doing plenty of steps per day.
Aargh, it’s tricked me into moving more! That’s how they get you, these fiendish devices. It’s a psychological trick with physical consequences. And now I can never again stay seated during the commercial breaks in The Big Bang Theory.
If you have a Jawbone UP, you will already be ahead of the game when it comes avoiding the evil that is sitting in a chair, since the UP buzzes if the user hasn’t moved in an hour, I guess to check that they’re still alive and to nag them to keep moving.
The new hourly total, like all Fitbit goals, is adjustable (or indeed you can ignore it all together). I’ve already seen people on social media complaining that it’s too hard, so they’ve switched it off. Er, guys, I think you’re kind of missing the point.
What do you think of the 250 steps an hour challenge? Good idea or irritating example of things that are irritating?