Zen in the City

How a fitness tracker helped me find my bliss – and stretch my limits [SPONSORED]

TelusDave Rosenblum via Flickr

Like so many other worker bees, I spend my days hunched over a computer keyboard, slouching deeper and deeper into my (ergonomic) chair as hours tick by. It turns out this is a sure-fire recipe for backaches, painfully tight hip flexors and shoulders stuck in a perma-shrug.

I tried to work out the kinks with yoga, indoor climbing or dance lessons near my downtown condo. It wasn’t nearly enough. My workouts were so sporadic that I never saw or felt any benefits. So, when my friends started wearing fitness trackers and logging thousands of steps daily, I decided to give it a try. As soon as I started browsing online, though, I found the options overwhelming. I needed expert advice.

I found help at the nearest shopping centre. I actually only made one stop at the mall because I had heard about TELUS’ new connected experience store that had just opened before the holidays at Toronto’s Eaton Centre – and I was intrigued. TELUS has a wide selection of health and fitness wearables, and it has Learning Centre Experts specially trained to help people choose the right gadget. At my free one-on-one consultation, a friendly expert named Scott helped me pick a type and size of fitness tracker, and he even guided me through the set-up process on my smartphone. I went home wearing my new Fitbit Charge HR and feeling confident I had the right device. I couldn’t wait to test it out at the yoga studio.

What did I discover? The class I chose stretched out my tight quads, but barely raised my heart rate. I needed something more vigorous if I was going to break a sweat. A few days later, I did exactly that, at my first hot yoga class. What a difference 40°C makes! My Fitbit app says I burned over 450 calories, with an average heart rate of 142 bpm. It was a great workout, but I couldn’t stand the heat. A week later, I found the perfect balance: a hatha yoga class that combined deep stretching with energetic flows (200 calories burned, average heart rate 106 bpm).

My Fitbit and I are pretty much inseparable. In addition to heart rate and calories burned, it tracks steps, stairs and distance. Using the app, I can set goals, review progress, track eating and challenge friends. I find myself checking my step count several times a day – and making a point of moving if I’m lagging behind my goal (the Fitbit also tracks sleep quality and duration. I had no idea I tossed and turned so much!). I wasn’t sure it would help, but wearing a fitness tracker has boosted my motivation and made physical activity a fun and consistent part of my daily life.

To start your fitness journey, visit telus.com/betteryou to book your personal session with a TELUS Learning Centre Expert and find out which wearable could change your life.

Not convinced about the power of wearables? Watch TELUS’ inspiring video about how mobile devices helped one man on his weight loss journey.

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