My legs say stop, but my arm says go for it

I have turned down work to tramp halfway to Wales to please my hungry Fitbit
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The Independent Online

I've bought a thing called a Fitbit that I wear on my wrist to tell me how far I've walked every day. This was before the new Apple Watch was announced. The Apple Watch supposedly tells you where you've been, where you're going, whether you're healthy, whether you smell bad … I don't want an Apple Watch. I'm happy with my Fitbit.

It has made me a touch obsessive however. One of the things that you can do is set your Fitbit to vibrate when you have reached a certain distance. Mine is programmed to do so when I reach the five-mile mark. I can't quite describe how satisfying the feeling is – those of you with vibrators might just come close.

It can come at any time (so to speak) and I can never quite guess when it's going to silently congratulate me on my walking achievements. Mostly it's when I'm in the middle of my daily walk across the Cotswold High Sierras and only my three canine companions – who, with their obsessive chasing of every pheasant in the county, have probably covered three times that distance – notice my little whoop of excitement.

Sometimes, however, it happens when I'm ambling down the aisle of a supermarket. I will invariably give out a little whoop before remembering where I am and quickly attempting to reassure the people around me that I'm not wearing "Love Eggs" (don't ask). I do this by tapping the Fitbit and watching the little lights flash up to confirm my achievement. To me, this makes sense. To others, it looks like I've received secret orders from Star Command and am trying to teleport myself to some better world.

It's best to wait until I get home, where I can rush to my laptop and watch it and my Fitbit sync together. I can then see my day reduced to a series of coloured charts. It's all rather addictive, and I've started to feel a strangely powerful need to beat the previous day's distance. This started fine, with me doing 10,000 then 11,000 steps and so on. But things have got rather out of hand. To beat my last score I need to walk for at least two-and-a -half hours solid and I've found myself turning down work because I need to tramp halfway to Wales and back to please my hungry Fitbit.

I was in Sarajevo recently and I did a fair bit of walking as I visited every dark tourist destination in that wonderful city. Upon returning to my hotel, having walked the two kilometres back from the old town, I synced up my Fitbit only to find that I was 700 steps short of my daily goal. To my horror I found myself pacing round my Bosnian bedroom to achieve my required total.

Maybe this is a good thing? But the ever-rising total is becoming increasingly unobtainable, unless I'm to lose all contact with work and family. Maybe I should have got an Apple Watch? Judging by the launch of the iPhone 6 it probably wouldn't work and I could get back to lying in front of the telly.

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