Fit and feeling good: How I'm using Google Fit to stave off 2020's chaos
Living 15 minutes from Walt Disney World, getting out and getting some fresh air wasn't much of an issue for me in 2019. The theme parks were open well into the evening, capacity was only an issue around major holidays — when you really don't want to be there, anyway — and so long as I had my trusty poncho and folding fan to deal with the storms and humidity of Florida, all I needed to go walk a few miles was to step away from my desk for a few hours.
Then 2020 came along, and things went pear-shaped. Like my butt.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who's spent most of 2020 cooped up inside. Between the theme parks being closed for four months and then teeming with tourists that don't really get that masks need to cover their mouth and their nose whenever possible, I haven't been making a real effort to get out and get my steps in.
After weeks of seeing my pathetic Google Fit step counts on my TicWatch Pro 3, though, I started carving out dedicated chunks of time to get outside, get some sunshine and some significant steps in.
And while I'm not back to where I can walk 10 miles at the drop of a Mickey hat, just getting out and doing what I can has done me a world of good.
Google Fit might only be a pale imitation of a health app next to Fitbit and Apple Health, but as a rare Wear OS watch-wearer, it's the health app that I've got on my wrist, so I'll take it. I don't need a bazillion different workout types — all I ever do is walk and power-walk — I just need a step counter, a workout counter, and a estimation of miles walked. Google Fit does that and then stays out of my way, which is great.
Of course, staying out of the way doesn't exactly remind me to get up, get out there, and get after those goals. TicHealth's hourly movement reminders pick up that slack, thankfully, and give me regularly reminders to plan ahead and figure out when I should break for a walk in the park. Once I started taking my walks again though, making time wasn't hard, because these daily walks are helping me keep my energy up through the day, helping me fall asleep faster in the evenings, and are helping drive away the over feeling of malaise 2020's chaos has permeated everything with.
While there's a multi-billion dollar industry built around helping hapless people like me stay in shape, the most important fitness tool can't be bought. It's the willpower to get outside and do something, even when the world seems like it's conspiring to keep you from your task.
So do me a favor: take half an hour and go for a walk today. Doesn't matter how far you make it, doesn't matter how fast or slow your pace, just go walk for half an hour and see how you feel for the rest of the day.
Then do it tomorrow and see that it feels even better.
Getting back to the busy busy world of technology that's keeping me from walking ten miles a day around Walt Disney World:
- This was a big week for Chrome OS. We got the first Snapdragon-powered Chromebook in the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, and while that may not seem like big news at first glance, it's actually important because Qualcomm's cellular prowess will lead to much better LTE Chromebooks, which will lead to 5G Chromebooks in a couple years.
- Jerry got to test out the new Acer Chromebox CX14 and it'll be an excellent option for families and for schools next year. If you need a lightweight laptop right now, I have a glowing review of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311, which unlike the Lenovo C340-11 and ASUS C214 is actually easy to find and available at regular, non-gouged prices.
- We also reviewed the new Amazon Echo (4th Gen) this week, and if you're more interested in the compact and downright cuddly-looking Echo Dot Kids Edition, I'll be reviewing that next week, so stay tuned!
- The Department of Justice finally announced its antitrust lawsuit against Google this week, and while this is something that will take months if not years to make its way through courts and bring about any meaningful changes — assuming that we'll see meaningful change at all — but you should still read our FAQ so that you can get the skinny on what's going on without drowning in legalese like I almost did.
- There's a new Huawei phone out that features an iPod-like camera module, but without Google services it's still dead in the west.
And on a totally unrelated note, the election might not be for another week and a half, but there's no reason to wait that long! Go vote right now! It's fun, it's responsible, and if you don't vote, you don't get to complain about government for the next four years. Check out your local races, find your early voting place(s), and bring a snack in case the lines are long.
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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.