Once it was only elite athletes who could have every one of their movements tracked.
Then along came Fitbit, everyone’s personal dashboard, to shine light on the amount of movement – or otherwise – that each one of us does – or doesn’t – do every second of the day.
We need some sort of kickstart to either get fit or maintain a level of fitness to separate us from the couch potato.
And the great thing about a Fitbit as opposed to a personal trainer is that is doesn’t nag, push, judge or make you feel guilty about not completing that extra 1000m on the rowing machine.
It just sits there on your wrist, filling you with self satisfaction or self loathing…
But to be honest I have always found the prospect of trying to come to terms with one as daunting as training for a marathon.
Then along came the Blaze…
To start with it looks like a watch not a wristband so I am not immediately recognised as someone trying to lose weight/get fit. And with a huge choice of straps, you could change colour every day of the week if you want.
Once the Fitbit app is downloaded to your phone it transforms into far more than any timepiece. And it’s so simple to understand.
Suddenly I not only know exactly how far it is when I walk to the station but how many flights of stairs I climb in a day.
The Blaze comes with a huge menu, taking in just about every aspect of your day.
For my part it has completely changed my approach to life – if that does not sound too dramatic.
I have programmed it on a five-day fitness schedule – that’s two days off to you and me – with a 9-hour minimum steps schedule.
The latter is the most important aspect of the whole thing. Too many of us sit for hours at our work desks without moving, sedentary to the point of fossilisation, week in year out.
We need some sort of kickstart to either get fit or maintain a level of fitness to separate us from the couch potato
Blaze sends me a reminder 10 minutes before the hour is up to say how many more steps I need to complete to tick off that particular 60-minute session.
More importantly it converts those steps – and those done throughout the rest of the day – to kilometres (or miles for Brexiteers) and calories burned to provide a detailed analysis of locomotion.
And as you reach your goals throughout the day – you can set a minimum step limit – you get Blaze praise by means of a message of congratulations.
Apart from recording the everyday mundane it also has functions for gym and treadmill work.
All this plus a heartbeat monitor which, although not 100 per cent accurate, shows your normal resting beat pattern plus how much different exercise sets your heart a flutter.
Although Blaze stores all the data on the app you do not need to have the phone with you at all times.
I run to work most mornings and the phone is in my bag so the session and route completed – along with all the relevant data – shows up on the app.
It also shows at what point of the run I was burning most calories, etc.
Too many of us sit for hours at our work desks without moving,
sedentary to the point of fossilisation, week in year out
But at the gym when I do not have the phone the data is still recorded just without the accompanying graphics. You can get fitbits that run on GPS but they burn the battery out too quickly.
Blaze just needs an hour’s charge every five days so it really is simple and cheap to run and although you can get some water resistant models my one is not a swimmer.
And lest you should you forget to break your arm patting yourself on the back, Blaze sends you a weekly email report to show just what you have done, awarding you various badges for distance and amounts of stairs climbed.
I never thought I would have my very own Opta stats package but now I am not sure how I managed without one.