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THE FITBIT BLOG

5 Beneficial Reasons to Run

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Jen running 8-26

For many people running is the ultimate “zen” activity. People who run often talk about the ways that their minds drift — allowing them to “de-clutter” thoughts while honing in on the things that really matter. Almost every runner will say they “just feel better” after a run compared to how they felt going in, and “sleep like a baby” at night on the days they run. Here are five beneficial reasons why running might help you out.

1. Running boosts thinking skills, reduces stress, and helps you sleep.

When asked in a recent survey about happiness and productivity, only 10% of employees say they do their best thinking while at work — the rest happens when they’re doing something else. Maybe the best way to do “out of the box” thinking is by taking a run outside the office. There could be some science to back this up. Studies show that running helps curb anxiety, enhances “feel good” hormones, and brings oxygen into key areas of the brain for regulating emotions and solving problems.

Comparing the pre-run and post-run scans of runners, neurologists at the University of Bonn, Germany, found increased opiate binding of the happy hormone endorphin in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain, areas known to be involved in processing emotions and stress.

Also, researchers from the University of Illinois found that an improvement of only 5% in cardio-respiratory fitness from running led to an improvement of up to 15% on mental tests (1).  And, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to jog for 20-30 minutes every other day. The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour (2).

So next time your stuck on a problem, instead of getting another cup of coffee, try lacing up the kicks and going for a quick jaunt instead. read more

Join the 1st Fitbit Bay Area Training Run Led by Dean Karnazes

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Whether you’re starting to train for the Fitbit Tiburon 1/2 Marathon & 5K or trying to prep for marathon season, we’ve got the perfect event to inspire you!

Spread the local Fitbit love and join Fitbit ambassador and ultra-marathonman Dean Karnazes on Monday August 25, for a 4-mile run/walk that starts and culminates at the Bay Club in Marin. Not only will you get beautiful views while you kick it into gear, you’ll  learn exactly how Dean trains, how he gets the most out of his Fitbit, and what tips and tricks you can use to improve your training. Not a San Francisco local? Follow the blog for upcoming training tips, schedules, and future events to support your fall racing season.

Here are all the important details:

 

 

At the end of the workout, be sure to stick around for a chance to win an entry into the Fitbit Tiburon 1/2 Marathon & 5K on Sunday October 5th, 2014. We’ll also be giving away discounted registration into that race, as well as free Fitbit prizes—including some of our award-winning trackers.

 

7 Science-Backed Numbers to Improve Your Life

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Useful Science is a nonprofit run by 48 grad students and professionals. The authors of this article are Jay Olson from McGill, Kyle Saikaley from the University of Toronto, and Jaan Altosaar from Princeton. Email them at hello@usefulscience.org.

useful science

You shouldn’t need a PhD to reap the rewards of science. Here are seven of our favorite studies relevant to everyday life that show how small changes can have big effects.

We hope this recipe format helps you remember the science!

 

• 70 decibels—the optimal noise level for creativity

Creativity flows best at 70 decibels — the average noise level in a coffee shop. To figure this out, researchers at the University of British Columbia played a jumble of cafeteria, construction, and traffic sounds while participants performed a creative task. People were most creative with a moderate amount of background noise.

When it was too quiet (like a library) or too loud (like a New York City subway), performance suffered. But, you don’t need a coffee shop for peak creativity: apps like Coffitivity and soundrown can mimic the coffee shop audible ambiance.

 

30 minutes of sun every morning

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This half hour of sunlight makes it easier to wake up the next morning. And for best health, sleep 7 to 8 hours per night — no more, no less. Sleeping much shorter or longer is associated with increased mortality and abdominal fat.

People can improve their sleep by controlling their exposure to light. Before bed, limiting light exposure (especially from screens on devices) can improve sleep quality. Controlling light exposure before traveling can also help reduce jet lag.There are awesome apps for waking earlier, limiting light exposure from laptops, and reducing jet lag.

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“For the Love” — A Tribute to Trail Running

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Here’s something special to kick off your Wednesday. Shot in our own backyard, this beautiful video is a tribute to trail running and the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. A film by our close pal Luis Peña that was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick, you’ll be taken through the beautiful ocean-side trails and gorgeous Bay area sunsets with several trail runners. You’ll even spot our speedy Fitbit employee, Monica Ralston, and our hard-charging Fitbit Ambassador Jenn Pattee along the way.

Get inspired! Get out and run!

 

Register Now for the First-Ever Fitbit Tiburon 1/2 & 5K

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We’re excited to announce the Fitbit Tiburon 1/2 Marathon and 5K on Sunday October 5, 2014!

Located in Tiburon in Marin County, our scenic course will have you pounding the pavement past some of the Bay area’s most iconic views–including Mt. Tam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Angel Island. Whether you’re an avid runner, walker, or just looking for a way to up your step count, we’d love to have you join us in our first-ever race event. Register here!

Worried about training? No problem. Next week, we’re launching two 9-week training plans to help you train smart for your next 5k or half marathon. Created by Fitbit ambassador and ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, these plans will get you race-day ready with weekly training tips on nutrition, hydration, stretching, strength training, and more.

For more motivation every day, add a Fitbit tracker to your training plan. Get your tracker now, start training, then show your tracker on race day to get a free sweatband.

Registration is limited, so sign up today and stay tuned for race training tips on the Fitbit Blog.

#FitbitSummer: HIIT the Beach with this Quick High-Intensity Workout

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This summer, we’ll be featuring tips, exercises and workout routines encouraging you to get outside and get fit in the summer sun!

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Today’s beach workout assumes you have access to a bench on the beach. If you don’t have a bench or a beach, that’s OK. You can do the workout using the ground. Instead of dips, you’ll substitute 10-15 tricep pushups.

Instead of having your hands shoulder-distance apart, bring your hands together so the thumb and index fingers of each hand are touching the other hand. This position targets your triceps, and may be a more difficult pushup variation for beginners and intermediate people. If you start to fatigue, drop to your knees. Just make sure to keep your back flat as you complete each pushup. read more

#FitbitSummer: HIIT the Court with This 15-Minute High-Intensity Workout

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This summer, we’ll be featuring tips, exercises and workout routines encouraging you to get outside and get fit in the summer sun!

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Stuck in a workout rut? Repeating the same workout every day is great for launching a fitness habit and keeping it going, but every once a while (three weeks to be exact) it’s good to mix things up so you don’t get bored or plateau.

So we’re working with endurance expert Jenn Pattee of San Francisco to help you see your fitness in a new light and find inspiration outdoors all summer long, no matter where you are.

Jenn will sjenn pattee bio pichow you how to get healthy, strong, and toned in every muscle of your body using what’s around you at the local park, beach, rec center, trailhead, track, or basketball court—no gym or fancy equipment necessary. This tennis-inspired workout below is ideal on its own or as a fast-paced interlude in conjunction with a 20-30 minute jog around the block (Don’t have access to a tennis court? No worries! You can do the same workout on a basketball court or any flat surface with lines. Or make your own with chalk or use cones to designate your lines.).

The structure is simple, just use the lines on the tennis court as targets for short sprints (also known as “suicides”). In between sprints, an easy circuit of planks, squats, and push-ups provides an “active recovery” while targeting most major muscle groups in your body.

Make sure to prep your body for sprinting before starting your workout by following Jenn’s dynamic warmup for quads, hamstrings, psoas, and Achilles muscles. read more

Beat the Heat for #FitbitSummer: Expert Tips on Staying Cool During Outdoor Workouts

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In many places across the world, summer is a great excuse to take your exercise routine outdoors and change up that stale gym or treadmill routine. And as we’ve recently explored, working out in the fresh air has a host of healthy benefits.

But peak summer temperatures can get the best of us. So how can you reap the rewards of the great outdoors while keeping yourself safe in the summer sun?

Lauren headshot smallWe asked a one of our favorite experts, Lauren Slayton, Author, RD, and Foodtrainers founder for her personal tips.

 

  1. I don’t know about you, but water fountains suddenly look like Shangri-La during my warm workouts. So while I encourage you to drink up while you exercise, it’s also crucial to pre-drink or imbibe before exercise. Try coconut water (high in potassium) or turmeric elixir (bonus points for salt) before heading out in the heat.
  2. And don’t be shy with salt. I love Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt—both contain essential minerals—but salty foods like olives, pickles and fermented veggies are great this time of year.
  3. Pick the perfect produce like cantaloupe, strawberries, radishes, and celery, as all these have super high water content and will help keep you hydrated.
  4. And remember that alcohol is dehydrating, so limiting consumption will help with hydration.

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#FitbitSummer: 5 Sane Ways to Recover from Vacation

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Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared in Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more. She previously wrote about Tips to Prevent Weight-Gain Weekends.

vacation recovery

I had one of those “What day is today?” moments when I woke up. But then it sunk in. My extended weekend vacation is over, which makes me a little sad. As long as I’m complaining, I’m also tired.

We were in Montreal for the 4th of July. But it’s not always about going away; sometimes relaxing can leave you wanting to relax more. And then there’s that feeling — you know it. “Uh oh, I need to undo what was done this weekend.”

And you don’t need to “do” that much to feel off. We had lots of seafood, green juice and salads. My Fitbit was happy with upwards of 20K steps a day (love that about vacation), but there were plenty of meals out, cocktails and well, here we are. Before you cleanse or “boot camp” yourself, here are five ways to feel better today.

 

1. Stay Home Tonight (and tomorrow too)
Before we get all technical with the idea of de-bloating, you simply need to spend less time with salt. Takeout and restaurant meals make this impossible. Cooking can mean scrambled eggs or a simple smoothie. read more

#FitbitSummer: Benefits of Exercising Outside

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This summer, we’ll be featuring tips, exercises and workout routines encouraging you to get outside and get fit in the summer sun!

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It’s no surprise that being outside, basking in natural light and breathing fresh air is good for your health. Study after study have found that natural light and outdoor time can boost both mental and physical health. From strengthening your immune system, elevating mood, decreasing stress and even speeding up recovery time for ill patients, the great outdoors is doing nothing short of handing out free health.

We’ve encouraged this before but as it turns out, earth, air and sun have even more to offer – these beauties can have a positive impact on your workout. Getting active (regardless of the setting or activity) adds to the good and subtracts from the bad when it comes to mental health. And taking your workout “out” enhances all those positive benefits.

…exercising outside has even greater physical benefits than indoor activities.

So if an outdoor workout can help you between the ears, what about the rest of your body? Recent studies have shown that exercising outside has even greater physical benefits than indoor activities. For example, running and cycling outside tend to require more energy than using a treadmill or stationary bike. Changes in terrain and wind resistance add a whole lot of challenge and variety to an otherwise stable workout.

By getting outdoors, many people increase workout intensity, length, frequency, and enjoyment – it’s almost too good to be true.

Even better, regular outdoor exercisers tend to workout longer and more frequently than those doing similar routines indoors.

By getting outdoors, many people increase workout intensity, length, frequency, and enjoyment – it’s almost too good to be true. And while we’re not ones to encourage jumping on the bandwagon, this trend worth getting behind.

So while the days are long and the weather is warm, try taking your workout outside and feel the benefits for yourself. Be sure to share your thoughts and workouts with us in the comments or on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest using #FitbitSummer, or in the comments below. And stay tuned for some great outdoor summer workout ideas to come!