An Open Letter to a Malfunctioning Fitness Tracker

Dear step counter/fitness tracker:

We had a deal.

Every day I am supposed to drag my sorry carcass out for exercise. You are supposed to whistle, beep, and send me shiny icons and provide motivation to continue doing that.

Most of all though, you are supposed to count.

country road

Imagine my surprise when I looked and saw that it took me exactly zero steps to run one and a half miles today.

I know I could look back at one of the past days and see how many steps it took for me to do that, but there is a principle at stake. If I’m motivated enough to do the running, the least you can do is hold up your end of the bargain.

After all, who wants a fitness tracker that is lazier than they are?


Perhaps I have found a new job skill to compliment the “chicken physical therapist” line previously placed on my resume.

This one will be….”fitness tracker shaming”.

I believe I have started an entirely new industry. I like the sound of that.


About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at
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