Here are some of the most helpful tools I use to keep me walking. Nothing here is a paid product endorsement – I’ve just found them very useful. I’m sure there are other good tools out there – please share them if you have suggestions.
Fitbit – http://fitbit.com
It’s an awesome pedometer and helps you figure out how much sleep you’re getting. At first, the pedometer shows you how inactive you really are. Then, it motivates you to get moving. It has a great smartphone app (I use the one for iPhone) and very good web tools to show you how you’re doing. I also track all my food with it. Getting enough sleep is very helpful for losing weight, so this helps there. But I wasn’t interested in calling my blog TheSleepingGuy.
MapMyWalk – http://MapMyWalk.com
This is one of a family of apps that use GPS to actually track where you’re going and how much distance you’ve actually covered (compared to Fitbit, which is an estimate of how much distance you’ve covered).
BTW, both of the above apps have social networking aspects – you can have Fitbit Friends and MapMyWalk friends. Fitbit friends are fun because you can Cheer and Taunt them. MapMyWalk friends give you motivation to get out of bed and keep up with them.
There is a world of opportunity for apps that can take data from apps like these, correlate that data, and help make useful suggestions. Young Comp Sci majors who may be reading this – hint hint!
Clip-on lamp – as Fall sets in and it’s dark in the AM and PM, this is very helpful. I have a very small LED one by Cyclops (I think) that at least makes me a little more obvious to the cars that drive too fast in my neighborhood at 5:30 am and 9 pm. I found multiple options for these clip on lamps on Amazon.
Good Sneakers – and lots of them. Walking about 70 miles a week or more, you can wear out a pair in about 3 months. I have a large foot (15 4E) and the best thing for my shoe shopping has been the Internet. New Balance seem to fit my wide feet well most of the time, but not always – so buying a few pairs at a time with Free Return policies give me a better chance of finding what I need and sending the rest back with minimal hassle.
Music player – well, not really. Since I have been walking outside, I have really been enjoying being unplugged – not being in front of the TV on the treadmill. I guess as I age and my hearing is not getting any better, I feel the need to be more aware of what’s going on around me (note the reference earlier in this post to cars that drive too fast). And since I’ve been doing that, I’ve really come to enjoy hearing the birds, the other dogs as they bark at Yankee, and even meeting people in my neighborhood. More on this in the “Unexpected Benefits of Walking to Lose Weight” some other time.
What tools help you get out to get fit?