Small steps. Big impact.

THE FITBIT BLOG

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

sun morning
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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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 23: Perfect your push-up

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

There’s only one week left until summer after today! And with Father’s Day right around the corner, today’s challenge is all about nailing what is ultimately the manliest exercise out there: perfect your push-up.

To help you out, we asked celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak to break down the perfect push-up in 4 easy-to-follow steps. It’s all about form!

Day 23: Perfect your push-up

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 20: Stretch your hamstrings with these three simple yoga poses.

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Today, we’ve turned once again to guest-author Jenny Blake for another quick yoga challenge: Stretch your hamstrings with these three simple yoga poses.

Hamstrings. Those big ol’ muscles on the backs of your thighs that practically scream the second you enter your first forward fold in a yoga class. Okay, well at least for me if any of the following are true: I’ve done a vigorous workout the day before involving running or squats, I’ve been sitting for too long, or I’ve abandoned my yoga practice for more than a few days in a row.

Many of us sit all day — from car (or subway) to desk to couch. It’s rare that our hamstrings get much love from our daily routine. So what’s a modern-day man or woman to do?

Answer: YOGA! But you knew that was coming :)

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 20: Stretch your hamstrings

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Maria Menounos’ Everyday Weight Loss Tips

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We have a special guest blog today from actress and TV personality, Maria Menounos! In her new book The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet & Fitness, out today, she highlights Fitbit as one of her faves! Below is an excerpt from the book.

Maria

MY EVERYGIRL WEIGHT-LOSS JOURNEY

Steps that helped me drop 40 pounds—and keep them off for good.

 

Set a Deadline
You can’t just say, “I want to lose weight . . . someday.” It’s that kind of loose talk, without a guideline, that discourages you from getting started and undermines success. My goal was to stop overeating, make healthier choices and lose weight slowly over the course of one year. Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results. And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was.

 

Keep It to Yourself
When you tell others you’re trying to lose weight, you’re just putting pressure on yourself. Weight loss is tough enough—why make it any harder?

 

Tie It to an Event
If you have a specific event in mind, it gives you extra motivation. Maybe you want to get in shape for an upcoming class or family reunion. Maybe you’re going on vacation or just want to look good on the beach in the summer. My event was the Miss Massachusetts USA Beauty Pageant. I knew there was a swimsuit portion of the show and if I was going to be in a bathing suit in front of thousands of people, I wanted to be in the best possible shape.

 

Cut Back Slowly
Now that you know what you’re eating, it’s time to deal with some of those problem areas. I used to be able to eat seven slices of pizza in one sitting. I decided to make this one of the first things I cut back on. So instead of seven slices I would eat six. A week later I cut back to five slices. When I was finally down to three slices, I incorporated a healthy salad. By cutting back slowly, it was easier!

 

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 13: Work out at the office

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

It’s great when we find time to head to the gym or lace up our running shoes. But for a lot of us, we still spend most of the day hunched over at a desk, answering email. So today’s challenge is to target all the desk-jockeys out there: Work out at the office.

Some of you may have no problem doing jumping jacks in your cubicle, but for the rest of you, here’s some easy ways to get in some movement throughout your work day. We also recommend going back to Jenny Blake’s yoga moves you can do at a desk to add some zen to your day!

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 13: Work out at the office

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 12: Make a healthy substitution to a meal

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Summer is looming and Father’s Day weekend is right around the corner. That means the season for picnics, BBQs, and other traditionally-unhealthy outings.

With that in mind, here’s today’s challenge: Make a healthy substitution to a meal. Whether you take more steps while cooking or go for salad instead of fries, do something today to make your diet a little healthier.

If taking your meal outdoors for a barbecue is on your radar, here are some easy ways to step up your grilling technique and get ready for some healthy summer cooking.

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 12: Make a healthy substitution to a meal

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 11: No eating past 9 PM

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Here at Fitbit, we’re all about making small changes to your everyday life. Whether you’re swapping in some healthy snacks or finding ways to fit more steps in throughout the day, it can add up to big changes over time. So today’s challenge, coming to you from Erica Steinz of Barry’s Bootcamp, is a simple one: No eating past 9 PM. Erica writes:

This is a big challenge for me, but it’s important to give your body a rest at night with your last meal ending by 9pm at the latest. This gives your body 10-12 hours of rest until breakfast in order to produce the proper hormones that help you sleep and metabolize food for energy instead of storing most of it as fat.

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 11

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 7: Start your workout with a sense of intensity

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

We’re one week in, and we hope you’re feeling great! We’re kicking up the notch today with a one-hour cardio workout from Barry’s Bootcamp trainer TL (Tommy Luke Stracke): Start your workout with a sense of intensity.

Keep reading for tips from TL on how to maximize your workout.

Cardio-Begining-Middle-End of Workout

Break up the cardio part of your workout into three different rounds.  Not only will this get your body warmed up and prevent injury but it will also do something very desirable for most people - BURN FAT!   By getting your body in a fat burning mode right out of the gate during your 60min workout is so important.  After your first round of cardio your heart rate will drop a little bit during your subsequent resistance round, but get ready because it will be going back up again as you finish and head to your next cardio round.

I always use the analogy of a car on a freeway or a car driving around the city streets. When do you burn the most gas? It’s the stop and go especially in San Francisco up those hills. Challenge yourself by implementing my interval system and watch your body change shape.

Day 7: Kick Up Your Cardio

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 6: Use weights heavier than your bag

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

We’re nearly one week in to our 30-day challenge; how are you faring? If yesterday’s circuit workout didn’t get you sweating, then maybe today’s challenge will give you that extra burst: Use weights heavier than your bag.

This challenge comes once again from personal trainer Erica Steinz of Barry’s Bootcamp, who writes:

This is something I always tell female clients. If your purse is heavier than 5 lbs, then I know you can lift 5 lbs in my class!

And the same goes for men: whatever you’re used to lifting in your everyday life, use that to gauge which dumbbells to grab. Although if you’re instead going for a barbell, remember that a standard one already weights 45 lbs.

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 4: 5 Simple Yoga Moves You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Today we’ve asked guest-author Jenny Blake to share tips on introducing yoga to your life. So today’s challenge is a quick one: Take 5 minutes to do these 5 simple moves.

When it comes to yoga, you’ve heard about the countless benefits: improved circulation, strength and flexibility, reduced stress, improved mood, the list goes on! You’ve seen the droves of Lululemon-wearing, mat-toting women looking fit and radiant. You’re feeling stiff and a bit creaky, and yet something is keeping you from actually taking class (or at least as frequently as you’d like).

You might even be plagued by any of the following excuses:

  • I’m not flexible
  • I don’t have time
  • I have no interest in hippy-dippy granola practices

If that’s the case, have no fear! Today we’re sharing five incredibly simple moves that can be done right from the comfort of your desk, each in 60-seconds or less.

Money-back guarantee: if you try all five and DON’T feel at least a little bit (if not a whole lot) better afterward, you have my permission for a get-out-jail-free card for all future yoga classes.*

*Caveat: I do recommend beginners suffer through stick with at least 5-10 classes before declaring it’s not for them—even the veterans among us feel bored, antsy, annoyed and impatient from time-to-time! Focus on how you feel afterward, and the subtle changes it initiates within your body and mind.

One-minute yoga moves

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