Does a Fitbit run your life?

It suddenly clicked for me why I will never get a Fitbit. They make your health and fitness about counting. In the same way calorie-counting takes the pleasure out of eating, Fitbits take the pleasure out of, well, life!

I want to go about my day enjoying my activities, not being bullied by a small robot on my wrist.

It really doesn’t make any difference if I do 8000 steps one day and 12000 another. If I rely on a bit of technology to tell me what’s good for me, what happens to my inner sense of myself and my needs? It shrivels. If I listen to myself, I can tell when I’ve eaten enough. And I can tell when I haven’t moved enough and need a brisk walk.

Fitbits are part of the ‘industrialization of movement’, to quote nervous system specialist, Irene Lyon*. By making movement about repetitions and counting, your delicate and sensitive nervous system is deprived of all sorts of things it thrives on. Pleasure, varied input, diversity of experience…

Instead of relying on a device to count your steps, what about using your capacity to sense differences to tune into how you’re walking now and then?

Which part of your foot hits the ground first? Is it the same for each foot? Do you swing your arms? Does one swing more that the other? What’s your rhythm? Do take the same size step with both legs? Do your hips move? What about your shoulders? Your ribs? Do you thrust part of yourself forward? Your nose, chest, chin? Or do your legs almost shoot ahead of you? Have you ever paid attention to any of these things?

You might find you get so interested in your walking you take, ooh, say, 10000 steps. Without thinking about it, and without counting. And maybe tomorrow you’ll want to walk even more because it feels so good or because you’re fascinated by your complex everyday way of getting from A to B. Then you will own your walk, rather than owning a bit of expensive technology which will eventually break and end up in landfill. And you may find you own other parts of your life too, instead of worrying about whether you have done enough (insert activity) or too much of something else.

Walking, it’s uniquely human. It’s an art to be enjoyed rather than yet another thing to be measured. (Bipedal walking with a body which has a very high centre of gravity. 🙂 )


Published by Kristin Fredricksson

I am a performance-maker, Feldenkrais practitioner and mother living in Kent. I am finishing a PhD at Royal Holloway University of London on Feldenkrais, self-image and performance, with a focus on movement and puppetry. I graduated from an accredited 4 year Feldenkrais training in Paris in 2008. I originally trained in theatre with Jacques Lecoq in Paris in the 1990s. I lived in Paris for 10 years and have also lived in Portugal and Tokyo, working as a theatre-maker, director, performer, puppeteer, dancer and Feldenkrais practitioner. I have taught drama and Feldenkrais, together and apart, in various universities including Cambridge and Kent. My solo show, Everything Must Go, with Beady Eye Theatre, toured nationally and internationally and won a Total Theatre Award and the Arches Brick. Cooking Ghosts also toured England. I recently began improvising and writing stories.

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