This probably isn’t going to be the article you think it is.
It’s not going to be about the one and only true, correct way to be healthy while trashing all others. Nope. No clickbait writing here.
My mother-in-law, having grown up in Calabria in the mid-1900’s walked everywhere – including to the local watering hole (no, not a bar, a literal watering hole) to carry water back for the family – still walks everywhere now. She’s never driven a car and walks to the local shops to get what she needs, is an amazing cook and still prepares food and takes care of her own home in her early 80’s.
But during a recent visit, she was obsessed with getting her Fitbit battery replaced. And I mean obsessed. She’s walked everywhere for nearly a century, yet suddenly doesn’t feel right about walking unless it “counts.”
And then there’s my own mother. She’s made massive improvements to her health in the last few decades and for that I’m happy for her and proud of her. But…she still has very unhealthy and erratic sleep patterns, often going to sleep in the wee hours of the morning and not sleeping enough – sometimes only 4-5 hours. We are all a work in progress.
But during a recent visit, she expressed an interest in getting a Fitbit to help track her sleep. We discussed that it’s not the quality of the sleep she gets that needs examination, but rather the bigger sleep behaviors of having the discipline to start engaging in health sleep behaviors.
Join Me As I Get to the Point
Like I said in the title, there’s only one way to health.
And that is to act. To do something. Go to sleep. Go for a walk. Go workout. Only then consider tracking it and only if it will enhance health behaviors.
Trackers don’t change behavior. They track behavior.
It’s been well-publicized that when people purchase a piece of fitness equipment like a yoga mat or medicine ball at a large chain superstore, they also are significantly more likely to purchase candy or junk food in the same shopping trip.
We know that buying a scale doesn’t make us lose weight. But even worse, just buying something related to health feels like it is a healthy behavior (it is not) so there is a temptation to reward ourselves.
You don’t need to track your sleep, your glucose levels (unless diabetic), your steps, your brain waves, or anything else. Tracking is a bell-and-whistle. An extra. It is not the thing it tracks.
Get walking. Exercise. Begin adjusting sleep behaviors. Then, after behavior has changed, maybe use technology products to enhance behaviors.