By Julie Duncan Harris
To say we’re competitive is probably an understatement. But here at Lewis Media Partners (LMP), we are competitive in a good way, in a way that encourages and elevates each other.
Most recently, we decided to have an activity challenge. At LMP, we have tennis players and runners and marathon trainers and walkers and bikers and basketball players and kettle-bellers, all kinds of athletes. Many here sport various types of devices on their wrists to track their every move. One even has a set of bike pedals under her desk, and you can sometimes see her pedaling furiously as she sits there working with the Fitbit fastened to her ankle ensuring all her pedaling is captured.
The Activity Challenge Takes Shape
And so we organized ourselves into two teams, downloaded the Activity Club app and began the challenge. It began in mid-October and concluded at the year’s end. Through Halloween candy, the Richmond Marathon, the darkness of Daylight Savings Time ending, the holiday food, the stereotypical New Year’s resolutions and for one, even the birth of her first child.
Right off the bat, of course, you know that the two who are training for the Richmond Marathon are going to kill it, especially during their “on” days. It was interesting to look at this app and see all the steps and points that everyone was racking up throughout the day. You can start noticing patterns, see when people start waking up, when they might be walking dogs or running, when they have tennis matches, and who might be pacing the floor late at night.
There are surprises, dark horses who you just had no idea moved around so much, as well as those who would predictably show up pretty consistently at the top of the rankings on the app each week. And then there is that jolt of realization when you see yourself consistently at the bottom, that you are in last place a lot of the time. Even my husband raised his brow in a silent reprimand at my lack of performance. How could this be?
“I’m Mean I’m Healthy, Right?”
I didn’t have an Apple Watch or Fitbit-type device when we started this competition. I thought I carried my phone with me pretty much everywhere and I could track my activity just off my health app. I mean, I’m healthy, right? But then I realized I was probably missing much of my activity and so I got a Fitbit, the cheapest model, so all my activity would be captured and I’d be up there where I belong. Not at the top, because I don’t run and I don’t have a dog, but I do walk when I can, as well as play golf and do yoga. And I think I’m generally active and healthy. In my mind, I am still that Aerobics instructor, a work-out fiend in my pink LA Gear high-tops and big hair held back in a scrunchie.
Yes, that was a long time ago. And now the reality is hitting me that I just flat-out do not move. Even with the addition of the Fitbit, I’m still at the bottom. Somehow, I haven’t realized how much time I spend sitting at my desk, the yoga classes I skip, the times I ride in the golf cart instead of pushing my clubs in a cart and walking. And once Daylight Savings Time ended and we’re in the cold, dark winter it’s tough to find time to do anything active outside, because I’m cold and tired and hungry when I get home at night.
What a huge wakeup call this black band around my wrist has been for me. It goes beyond being competitive with my co-workers and is really about taking care of myself. Health is not something that can be taken for granted, and even if someone looks healthy, it doesn’t mean they are.
Challenge or not, New Year’s resolutions or not, this black band will stay around my wrist and I will keep finding ways to move and be healthy and strong.