After years of having my family push me around in a wheelchair, I am thrilled to be able to walk wherever I want. Although my chronic pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and degenerative disc disease is well managed (and I mean extremely well, click here to read about my pain management plan) I have not been cured. I still have to pay close attention to my body’s limits. Being in less pain than I was when I was diagnosed doesn’t mean that I can do anything I want, I am constantly testing and setting new boundaries. The most important part of creating, remaining within, and pushing my boundaries is tracking my steps. However, I have found that even with a Fitbit, not all steps are counted when I am pushing a grocery cart or a rollator along a smooth surface. By the way, I am not fussing over a few steps here and there, I am talking about being off by hundreds and thousands!
I put this to the test one day at Disneyland. My daughter walked across a flat surface wearing her fitness tracker on her wrist. Her step count was 500 steps. I walked the same distance on the same surface while pushing my rollator. My step count was 75!! I found that it picked up steps on rough or bumpy surfaces, but was useless on ones that were flat and smooth.
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Not having steps counted is a problem for many reasons. I need to know my boundaries. I can’t push past them every day without getting knocked down. Knowing how many steps I can take in one day or within an hour helps me plan my outings. It helps me plan for periods of rest or to have my wheelchair in the trunk in case what I have planned is too much for my body. It also helps me see the progress I am making.
To solve this problem, I began wearing my Fitbit around my ankle. I compared the recorded steps to wearing it on my wrist without pushing anything and there wasn’t a difference. Now, whether I am pushing my rollator, a wheelchair, stroller, or grocery cart I know that my steps are being recorded.
If you are like me, your ankles are probably larger than your wrist and your fitness tracker won’t fit around them. Here are some solutions that will help you keep an accurate record of your steps.