Take Steps This Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching, we can look forward to gathering with friends and family, celebrations, and merriment. We also look forward to lots of great food and tempting treats. For many the holidays also add stress, tension and increased feelings of depression. Make time to keep up with exercise, which will help guard against weight gain and help boost your serotonin levels. Need motivation? Your mobile device likely has a pedometer built in to help you keep track of your steps and stay on goal.

If you have not gotten a FitBit because of the cost or because it seems intrusive, you may be surprised that you more than likely have a pedometer already built into your phone. In iPhone you can go into Health app – Health Data and tap “Activity” to find that it is tracking your steps, as long as you have your phone (or Apple Watch) with you.  Users of Samsung manufactured devices can use the built in pedometer called S-Health, though you will need to turn it on.  Android users can get the Google Fit app. These apps will track the number of steps you take and urge you on toward set goals, and help you track other activities like sleep duration, heart rate, weight and more. If having an app “follow you” is unnerving, make sure GPS is turned off and the app settings are refined to only track your steps, not map your path. If you do not like the built in apps there are a myriad free options available for Androids and iPhones. Just remember to be mindful when downloading any app that you get it through the official app store for your device and understand the repercussions of the permissions it may request.

Just getting out and taking a walk has many benefits for your mind, body and soul. Set a goal, track your activity, and stay happy and healthy during the holidays and be ready for a new year!

Catherine Sanders Reach is director of the NCBA’s Center for Practice Management.