When Is Your Back Pain, Not Just Back Pain?

Back Pain. It is something we have all experienced, and it can really put a damper on your life. But how often do we just chaulk it up to being, “back pain,” and don’t give it much more thought?

As a fitness instructor, I see a lot of people in the run of a week so I am in the position to hear about these uncharacteristic aches and pains more often than the average person. I always ask participants how they hurt themselves, where it hurts, what movement bothers the injury, etc. to try and determine whether or not it is safe for them to exercise, and what types of modifications I should provide them to keep them save. But those instances are almost always acute injuries – the injuries that occurred suddenly after a specific accident or incident. It’s very rare that someone talks to me about chronic or ongoing pain that has slowly developed over time. In my experience, those with that type of pain often keep it to themselves, and that is what bring me to today’s post.

A month or so ago I was contacted about helping to raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Awareness. As a fitness professional, I feel I am generally pretty well informed on different conditions and diseases that concern the muscular and skeletal systems, but I had no idea what AS was and had to Google it to find out more about it.Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

What I discovered was that AS is a type of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one where the body’s immune system becomes confused and begins to “attack” the body. In people with AS, it’s the joints in the spine that are the target of the immune attack, resulting in pain and stiffness (inflammation) in the back.

The inflammation usually begins at the base of the spine where the spine attaches to the pelvis (sacroiliac joints). This can spread upwards to involve other parts of the spine and, in severe cases can involve the entire spinal column. As the inflammation continues, new bone forms as the body tries to repair itself, which causes the spine to become very stiff and inflexible. Even though new bone has formed, the existing bone can become thin, which increases the risk of fractures.

What concerned me even more, was learning that in people with AS the auto-immune attack may also cause inflammation in the eye, a condition called uveitis or isitis. And was particularly interested to learn that those with AS can also sometimes develop IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) like crohn’s and colitis. Many of you know that my husband has IBD. Well, he has also had back issues for years, which is another reason why I felt it was important to be a part of this awareness campaign. If I, as a fitness professional and wife to someone with a diagnosed auto-immune disease had still never heard of it – how many of my readers, participants, friends and family didn’t know anything about it either?

Who Is At Risk?

AS affects between 150,000 and 300,000 Canadians, and affect three times men than women, but the severity of AS can be the same in either gender. While people of any age can develop AS, it usually appears between the ages of 15 and 30.

What Are The Symptoms?

AS can cause very different symptoms in different people. Some individuals may have mild back pain, while others may have severe chronic pain accompanied by stiffness of the spine which affects their posture and daily activities.

The most universal symptom is chronic low back pain, lasting for more than three months, which seems to come and go for no apparent reason. It is generally worse in the morning when getting out of bed and improves with stretching and exercise.

The areas most commonly affected are:

When Should You See A Doctor?

You should see your doctor if you have low back or buttock pain that came on slowly, is worse in the morning, or awakens you from your sleep in the second half of the night – particularly if this pain improves with exercise and worsens with rest. See an eye specialist immediately if you develop a painful red eye, severe light sensitivity or blurred vision. If you have gastrointestianl issues or a family histor of IBD, mention these to your doctor.

There is no cure for AS, but an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment help in the management of the disease and contribute to reduce severe damage to the joints. Most people with AS can lead active and productive lives with the help of the right treatment, in some cases surgery, exercise, rest and joint protection techniques.

What Can You Do Right Now?

Concerned about your back pain? The first step is to determine if you are experiencing mechanical or inflammatory back pain. Take the 30 second quiz on the Stand Up To Back Pain website to determine whether or not you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

And in the meantime, I’ve put together a series of spine-friendly back stretches below that anyone with back issues can do to help to start to relieve lower back pain right now.

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

As with any exercise, if something doesn’t feel “right” when you move into any of these stretches, it is best to play it safe and stay away from those stretches until you’ve consulted your physician.

Alternating Knee To Chest

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

While laying on your bed or the floor, bring one knee in towards your torso as you exhale, hold for 2-3 breathes and then return your foot to the floor and repeat with the opposite leg.

Repeat for a total of 5 times on each leg.

Cat/Cow

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

From your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips, and hands directly under your shoulders, take a deep breathe in and as you exhale, arch your back up dropping your chin and tailbone like a halloween cat. As you inhale, slowly lift your tailbone and look upwards. Gentle alternate back and forth stopping to take a few deep breaths any place that you feel tension.

Repeat 5-10 times.

Pelvic Tuck

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

Similar to Cat/Cow, but here we are isolating just the SI joint. Begin on your hands and knees with knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. As you exhale, gently tuck your tailbone as though you were drawing in under you. As you inhale, gently allow your tailbone to return to a neutral spine.

Repeat 5-10 times.

Spinal Balance

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

Still on your hands and knees, this time you are going to exhale as you extend your left leg straight behind you, foot flexed with toes pointing towards the floor, while simultaneously extending your right arm straight ahead at no higher than shoulder level. If you find it difficult to lift both the opposite arm and leg at the same time, start by lifting the leg, then add the arm. Try to keep your hips level, minimizing the twisting through your spine as much as possible. To do this place more weight in your supporting arm to help balance you. Keep your head looking straight down during this exercise to keep your neck in line with your spine. Lower your left leg and right arm back to their starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

You may feel unsteady, that is ok and is the nature of this exercise.

Repeat 5 times

Child’s Pose

Have back pain? Try these stretches after your workout or anytime when you are feeling a bit tight. Not sure what is causing your back pain, take the quiz to see if you should consult your doctor

From your hands and knees, sit back towards your heels allowing your forehead to rest on the floor, stacked hands or fists, or use a pillow for full trunk support. If this is difficult for your low back try opening your knees so that they are further apart which can be more relaxing for a sore low back.

Stay here for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes.

I’ve also recorded a video of these stretches for you. :)

I hope you’ve found these stretches helpful, and I hope that you will take a few seconds to complete the quiz on StandUpToBackPain.ca if you haven’t done so already, and then share this post with your friends and family. Early diagnosis of AS is key, and it’s hard for your doctor to diagnose you if he/she doesn’t know you are having unexplained back pain. Your spine is not something to trifle with, please – if you are having ongoing issues that have no yet been diagnosed or treated, please take the quiz and then make an appointment to see your doctor.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by AbbVie Corporation. All opinions expressed within this and any post on this site are entirely my own.

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Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing

Cinco De Mayo, or “Five of May” is a celebration held on – you guessed it – May the 5th. It commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 making it a great day to enjoy some delicious Mexican food!

Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing a great recipe for Cinco de Mayo

Mexican food is always one thing – delicious. But it isn’t always healthy, so today I wanted to share with you a healthy recipe that you can make this Cinco de Mayo (tomorrow!), which tastes indulgent but really isn’t.

What really makes this recipe is the Que Pasa tortilla chips and salsa. Que Pasa organic, non-GMO chips are crafted from whole kernel corn ground with real volcanic lava stone – the traditional way they’ve been made in Mexico for generations.  They’re also gluten free, vegan, low sodium, and super delicious! Truly, once you’ve tasted Que Pasa tortilla chips you’ll never look at those other tortilla chips the same again. They really do taste better, you can tell the care that goes into making them. Did I mention they are delicious? Because oh my goodness, are they ever.

As for the Que Pasa Salsa, I had never tasted it before, in fact I didn’t even realize they had a salsa, but it too is amazing! The consistency is different from other brands, and since I am a fan of less chunky salsa, the Que Pasa salsa is another awesome find for me. So far I haven’t ventured past the mild, but I’m very much looking forward to getting into the medium chipotle because Suzi lovvvvvves chipotle!

But let’s get back to the Taco Salad, where those tortilla chips definitely shine! This is a recipe developed by Que Pasa, and is one found on their website (along with a bunch of other delicious recipes!)

Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing

Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing

Ingredients:
Salad
  • 3 cups spring mix
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 avocadoes, chopped or 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese or dairy alternative
  • ½ cup green onions
  • 1 cup favourite Que Pasa tortilla chips, broken
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapeno slices
Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing
  • 1/2 cup Que Pasa Chipotle Salsa
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or dairy alternative
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Meatless taco crumble
  • 1½ cups of crumbled extra firm tofu or veggie ground like SoL Cuisine Organic Veggie Crumbles
  • 1/3 cup of barbeque sauce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (or 0.5 tbsp. cayenne, 0.5 tsp chili powder, 1½ tbsp. paprika)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
Directions
1. Sauté onions in coconut oil. Add crumbled firm tofu or veggie ground until heated and then stir in seasoning and barbecue sauce. Set aside.
2. To make dressing, mix all dressing ingredients in food processor. Set aside.
3. In a large salad bowl, add salad ingredients, topping with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and green onions. Garnish as desired.
While this is a meatless recipe, you could easily replace the tofu or veggie ground with the meat of your choice. That’s the best part about cooking at home – you get to make all the rules! And when you have amazing flavours like this, meatless or not this salad is going to be a crowd pleaser!
Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing
Cinco de Mayo might be tomorrow, but Que Pasa wants to help you take the party all summer long and offered to sponsor a giveaway!
Meaty Meatless Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing
One of my lucky readers is going to win a Que Pasa prize package valued at $50. GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

The @QuePasaFoods #EverydayFiesta #CincoDeMayo Giveaway includes:

Ready to enter? All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me hot hot do you like it? Your salsa that is 😉 Are you a mild, medium or hot sort of person? I envy people who can handle spice I most certainly cannot. My belly just doesn’t welcome it at ALL.

Want an extra entry? Be sure to follow both myself @suziconfesses and Que Pasa @QuePasaFoods on Twitter and tweet the following:

If you tweet, be sure to leave a separate comment below with your tweet URL.

Giveaway will end at 12:01am on Thursday, May 12th, 2016.

Eligibility: Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US.

A winner has been chosen – congrats Linda!
number
winner
Disclosure: I was provided with product sample in exchange for this post, all opinions expressed are my own. Ole!

 

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Mega Mix 53

You know it’s new music day if I’m posting twice in one day – that never happens otherwise, haha. Mega Mix 53 dropped yesterday so let’s take a look at what’s on this month’s release shall we?

Verano by Danel Batista {Merengue}

Quiero Verte Bailar by Jeison El Brother {Salsa}

Hasta el Amanecer  (Cover) {Reggaeton}

No (Cover) {Hip Hop}

Dale (Radio Edit) by Soldat Jahman & Luis Guisao feat. Kenza Farah {Dance}

La Cumbia Del Cucu by Papayo ft. Victoria “La Mala” {Cumbia}

La Vida by Arsenal {Soca}

Cheap Thrills  (Cover) {Pop}

Bolliyan by Mika, Shipra Goyal {Bhangra}

Dancing Kizomba by Alx Veliz {Kizomba}

Looks like that last one you’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch/listen to, but the song is there.

Anyway, there you have it – the new album for May 2016. I know they like to add pop songs now and again, and I do use them but it does seem a little odd to me that we’ve had 3 Meghan Trainer songs in the past year or so. Of course they need to get the rights to do a cover so maybe she is more willing to have a cover of her tunes than others. Either way I’m probably going to use No for a warm-up or something once I get my head wrapped around the idea of finding time to choreograph again!

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No Equipment, No Problem: Full Body Workout

Spring is one of the times of year where I find people start to feel more motivated to make some change in their life. Whether it’s because of the green grass and blooms when everything feels new again, the thought of summer being right around the bend or something else entirely, in my experience people make changes in the spring. And for many, those changes include fitness changes. In past years spring always meant the return to running for me (since I’ve always been a fair weather runner), for others that means cycling, outdoor sports or whatever! And for yet another group that means they want to find more time to spend outside with their family, and spend less time in the gym or working out.

That last one is where this post comes in! Because I’m taking the year off from running (aside from the odd 5K like the one I ran yesterday), my transition into spring training is all about short, fast, heart pumping workouts that build muscle while burning fat and helps to regulate cortisol levels. My friends at Sport Chek decided to help make the transition into spring a little bit easier with some new gear and were kind enough to make my fitness loving heart explode with new sneakers, capris, two tanks and a FitBit Blaze.

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Pictured above: Diadora Studio Lux Women’s Elastic Mesh Tank, Nike Pro Hypercool Capris (this colour not shown on website any longer), Under Armour Run Streaker Women’s Tank (in blue), Nike Free Run Distance Women’s Running Shoes, and the FitBit Blaze.

Because there are a few things that make working out a bit more fun (and yes, I too find it difficult to convince myself to exercise sometimes – even when it’s my job!), than new clothes and a fun new gadget to play with!

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

I already wrote about the Blaze last week and went on a few times about how smitten I am with it – and I really am! It’s such a cool little gadget. Yesterday in my 5K I wore both it and my Polar just to see how they compared, and I gotta admit the stats weren’t far off (max heart rate, average heart rate, pace, etc.). I think when it comes to serious heart rate training the Polar still wins for me as I like the chest strap and feel it is still a bit more accurate, but otherwise I’m all about the Blaze!

Anyway, back to my spring workout. Because I’m crazy, I decided not only to develop an 8-week exercise program for myself, I also packaged it into a virtual 8-week boot camp and have a bunch of clients participating as well! Misery loves company and all of that. 😉 And while my clients are now on week 3 (sadly I haven’t been able to participate for the past week as I am having some health issues), you can still get in on the fun with this quick  full body workout I’ve put together for you with some of the moves from my bootcamp workouts!

For this workout, you are going to do each move in order for the number of reps indicated, and then you are going to repeat the whole thing through 1 time. The plan is to time yourself, and to do each move as quickly as you can with good form. This is a workout you could ad into your workout rotation once/week for a few weeks and watch yourself get stronger and faster as the weeks go by! While they are quick, these workouts are also intense since you are going as fast as you are able (again – with good form) so no matter what your fitness level, you are pushing yourself.

For this workout you will be doing:

V Sit Dips

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Start from a seated position with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Sitting tall through your spine Contract your abdominals and lean back so that you are sitting in the spot between your sitz bones and your tail bone. If you find that it still bothers your tailbone, fold up an exercise mat and sit on that to give yourself a bit more cushion. You may leave your heels on the floor or lift them up for a more advanced option, this is your starting point. From here you will lean further back while extending your legs and then squeeze your core to lift back up to your starting position.

Prisoner Get Up

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Start in a laying position on the floor with your arms behind your head. Contract your core muscles and sit up. Next bend your left knee and press up onto it, then push through your heel and stand up. From standing, lower back down onto your left knee, then down into a seated position before laying back down on your back. Next time repeat leading with the opposite leg. If you need to modify the move, use your arms to assist you in getting up and down.

Push-Ups

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Starting from a full plank or kneeling plank position with your arms shoulder width apart, lower yourself down towards the floor as far as you can while keeping your body in one long line as you exhale. On the inhale press yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Curtsy Lunge Kick

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Standing with your feet hip width apart transfer your weight into your right leg as you step your left leg behind you into a curtsy. The weight in your left leg should be in your toes, and it is there primarily for balance with the bulk of your weight now in your right foot. Bend through your knee into a lunge and as you come back up to standing press through your right heel and squeeze your right glute and engage your abdominals as you lift your left leg and kick out to the side. then step back into your lunge and repeat. Once you’ve completed all reps on your right leg repeat on the left side kicking out with the right leg.

I’ve created a downloadable PDF for you to print off and take with you when you workout. You can download/print that by clicking HERE.

Thank you again to Sport Chek for helping me transition into spring training with some amazing new gear, all of the items I received are so light weight, they are going to make working out on those hot spring and summer days so much cooler – looking and feeling! If you are looking for some new gear to help with your transition into spring training be sure to check out Sport Chek in-store or online. And if you try out the workout above please let me know how it goes!! Those prisoner get up’s can be brutal!

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Sport Chek, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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FitBit Blaze {A Review}

A few weeks ago I received a FitBit Blaze as part of a project I’m working on with Sport Chek. This post is NOT part of that project. Because I have been asked many times both in person and on social media how I am liking the Blaze, I decided to write this post.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

When I first started talking with Sport Chek, they offered me either the FitBit Blaze, or the Alta. Despite the fact that the Blaze is now on my wrist, I initially requested the Alta. You see, I already have my Polar M400 and the TomTom Spark I got only a few months back so it seemed foolish to get yet another fitness watch. Especially since my Polar is still my preferred running training computer, and my TomTom is great for both teaching and long walks (since it has a built in music player and fits a bit more comfortably on my wrist). And then there is my regular non-fitness watch that I wear on the weekends and when I’m out. I just didn’t make sense to get another watch. Whereas the Alta was simply an upgrade from my FitBit Flex which I’ve been wearing for years regardless of which watch I had on the other wrist.

So why do I now have the Blaze? Because they sent it to me by mistake. When I opened the package and saw the Blaze I realized they had made a mistake, but seeing it in person I was also a bit like, “Ohhhhhhh, it looks so nice!!” So I did what any logical person in 2016 with an iPhone would do. I asked Google if I could have more than one FitBit attached to the same account. And the answer was yes. Not only that, but once you have two FitBit devices on your account it will detect which one you are using so you can switch from one to the other without having to do anything within the app or the website.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

That sealed the deal. I emailed them and said that I had received the Blaze, but now that I wanted to keep it. This way, those times when I wanted to wear a different watch I could pop my FitBit Flex back on without losing any of those precious FitBit steps. 😉

So I set it up and put it on, and took my Flex off. One thing you should know is that I wear my watch on my left wrist, and my FitBit was always on my right wrist, so moving to the Blaze meant for the first time in years I had a naked right wrist. That might not seem like a big deal, but in the past few years my fibromyalgia has started bothering my arm joints more than anything else so I regularly have wrist pain. That pain is often worse on my right side than my left (which is odd since I’m left handed), so having a bare right arm was immediately enjoyable.

I feel badly saying this, but since putting the Blaze on my wrist, I haven’t worn any other watches – including my Michael Kors watch, or put my FitBit Flex back on.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

The band is so comfortable, and it’s sporty while being stylish so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a clunky sports watch if I’m wearing it on on the weekend. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll start incorporating the others back into a rotation, but right now I’m pretty smitten.

The strap is flexible and comfortable. The size small on my tiny wrist fits snug without me putting it on the smallest setting.

After using the FitBit Flex for so long (which only has 5 lights that light up as your step count increases during the day) it was nice to be able to see exactly how many steps I have without having to open the website or the app on my phone. It’s also cool to have a constant heart rate reading. In the past I’ve poo-pooed wrist heart rate watches because they made you stop and put your fingers on a sensor to read your heart rate. I should have know technology had moved past that, and instead this uses LED lights to read your heart rate automatically. I’m sure they’ve been doing that for a while since I know the Force also tracks your heart rate.

It also explains what that flashing light I use to see when I took my TomTom off was, I guess I’m a bit slow to pick up on the LED heart rate tracking game. Anyway, if you have been wondering how these devices track your heart rate, that’s how.

The Blaze has some other fun features like FitStar which has pre-programmed workouts you can follow, a stopwatch and timer, alarms, workout tracking (which it really does automatically so I have yet to track an actual workout since mine have all been classes – but this would come in really handy during runs, bike rides, walks and whatnot).

Additionally, you can receive your texts messages and accept or decline phone calls right from your watch face which is fun – but remember your phone’s bluetooth must be left on in order for that to work.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

I have yet to try controlling your iPhone music right from the Blaze. Another instructor on Facebook mentioned that that is how she starts and stops (or skips) songs in Zumba and I think that is GENIUS. I don’t use my phone for my music in classes so that sweet idea won’t work for me, but it might for you!

As I mentioned bluetooth above, this is where I’ll put my one negative comment about the Blaze. In general I’m not a fan of leaving my bluetooth on 24/7. It drains my phone battery and I really don’t need to be updated on my wrist anytime I get a text message (which is pretty often). However, in the first week of using the Blaze, there were at least two times I turned my bluetooth on to sync my data and my phone couldn’t connect to the Blaze. In both those instances I ended up having to delete it from my account and re-adding it. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a pain in the butt. But that is a software issue, not a problem with the Blaze itself, and a couple days ago there was an update to the software so it’s possible this issue has already been addressed. In the meantime, I’ve been leaving my bluetooth on because it’s not very often that I am in a place where I cannot charge my phone throughout the day if needed.

So yeah, I’m pretty smitten with this little gadget. The battery lasts about 5 days on a charge, takes about 2 hours to recharge so I usually do it when I’m sitting at the computer working anyway. I’ve heard others complain that they found popping it in and out of the strap setting to charge seemed “flimsy” and that they were afraid they were going to break it, but I’ve not felt that at all. The watch frame is metal and it snaps in and out securely but not difficultly.

One of the reasons such a full featured unit can last so long in one charge (in comparison, my Flex lasts about 7 days) is partly because the screen goes to sleep when you aren’t looking at it. To turn the screen on you can tap the button on the side of the unit, but it will also automatically turn on when it senses you lift your arm or turn your wrist to look at it. It’s not perfect, but that works most of the time. That’s also why I don’t mind wearing it to bed since it doesn’t have a light shining all night long, plus it is easy for me to wake up and quickly look at the time without having to turn to my nightstand.

Is It Worth The Price?

That is going to be an individual decision based on your needs. If all you need/want is a tracker to see how many steps you are taking then one of the less expensive models will suit you just fine. If you want more functionality like the built in heart rate monitor, FitStar and some of the other features in a sleek watch styled unit – then yeah I’d say it’s worth $250.

I recently read this article where a man went to the ER and it was because they were able to look back at his heart rate reading via the FitBit app on his phone that they were able to quickly determine how to best treat him. Knowing that my husband has had heart issues in the past (he had to have an extra pathway in his heart ablated 1 1/2 years ago), this article really made me think about upgrading him to the FitBit Force or Blaze so that he could have that 24/7 heart info too in case he were to start having problems again.

And though I thought I didn’t think I cared about the heart rate monitor feature for myself, I’ve since changed my tune. As someone who has suffered from over-training syndrome and is still finding her way back to a fully healthy state from it, being able keep a watch on my heart rate to make sure my resting heart rate doesn’t do anything weird is important and I find myself checking in once a week to see whether my average resting heart rate is going up or down.

But if heart rate tracking really isn’t something that you feel you need to worry about, I’d go with the Alta because that aqua sure is beautiful! 😀

There you go – my FitBit Blaze review! I hope it answered some of the questions you might have about this cool new gadget.

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