fitbit trio.jpgI’ve had the Fitbit Flex strapped on my wrist for about three years now, and I wear it every day without fail. I love how it’s a constant reminder of how much I’m moving, or when I need to get up and get moving some more.

Readers that know me from the former Future Shop Tech Blog will know I’m a diehard Fitbit fan. That’s in part because it keeps me accountable for my health and my exercise with simple and easy to read graphics available instantly, and at a glance, on my smartphone. I also like Fitbit because it’s easy to use, and can be tucked away into a sock or sports bra so if you don’t want to be seen wearing an obvious fitness band, you don’t have to. For more on why I love it click here.

One of the main features I particularly like about the Fitbit is the ability to challenge my friends and keep them accountable for their progress as well them keeping watch over me.  Fitbit has built in challenges you can invite others to take part in with the click of a button, and in doing so, you’re able to easily keep track of how everyone in your circle of Fitbit users and friends is doing. What I like about that is how challenging them will often motivate me to get up and get moving where I’d otherwise put my feet up and grab a beverage. fitbit flex arm.jpg

Fitbit has some fun challenges you can take part in when you use their bands: from a Goal Day challenge, Weekend Warrior, or Workweek Hustle, you can easily choose whether you want to issue a challenge to your friends for the day, for the weekend, or for the whole week. You can also choose whether you want to challenge one person or a whole group.

The way it works on Fitbit is you send out a challenge to whichever people you want to invite. Once they accept, you’re able to watch their progress on the app for the duration of the challenge.

One of my favorite challenges is Weekend Warrior. On weekends it’s easy enough to get up and go for a walk, hike, or even just take a spin around the mall to ensure I’m moving and keeping in the competition. All those steps add up, and it’s fun to check in throughout the day to see where my friends, and particularly my sister-in-law (who often challenges me, and beats me!) are at. I find the element of competition is encouraging, and gets me moving and motivated.

So what it is about a challenge that can benefit your health?  Here’s the top 3 reasons why a challenge can get you motivated:

1.  It breaks bad habits
Habits are habits for a reason. They’re tough to break. Many of us don’t stop bad habits because we don’t have a reason to. A challenge to move more, run, and get stepping can seem like a minor waypoint on the way to a larger fitness goal like losing 30 pounds, or being able to run a marathon, but we all have to start somewhere. For some of us, that’s just breaking the sedentary lifestyle habit, becoming aware of our movement and activity levels, and letting that get us motivated to break bad habits and replace them with new (good!) ones.

2. It develops friendships and community
When you need motivation, and you get it in the form of a virtual cheer or even a good natured taunt, it can juice your spirit and give you that extra push to get up and run, walk, hike, or even just walk to the corner store instead of driving. Knowing you have friends watching out for you can be a big help, particularly when you need an extra push.

3.  It keeps you accountable
If no one is watching you, will you go ahead and eat that donut? Will you be more likely to stay on the couch and watch another episode of Scandal?  Admit it, you probably will. Accepting a challenge, in particular a Fitbit challenge, means you’re opening the curtain and inviting people in to take a look. When it comes to fitness, that’s a pretty strong motivator.  

jawbone up 24.jpgWhile my go-to gadget is Fitbit, Jawbone’s Up24 and UpMove bands and activity trackers have similar motivators (such as its Smart Coach), and other trackers also have ways to give you a nudge.

Another way to keep honest?  Fitbit makes the Aria scale, which weighs you and then automatically syncs the data to your Fitbit app, and the app uses that info to help you make, adjust, or meet your weight loss or movement goals. There are many different fitness trackers out there, and they all do a variety of things. For a list of 5 top fitness wearables you can check out my recent blog.

Visit the Fitbit Store to check out all the fitness and activity tracker options from Fitbit.
 

So now it’s your turn: What’s the way you stay motivated when it comes to fitness?  Do you have a running buddy?  A standing date with a personal trainer?  Or maybe you just feel awful when you skip a workout.  Let me know in comments below. I could use the motivational tips, and I bet others could too!