Smartphones. Technology. Someone recently told me “I think I am about maxed out on gadgets”. So true. However, I have found some gadgets that are really cool. I love my smartphone for geocaching, checking the weather, logging my mountain bike rides on endomondo app, and running from zombies with my Zombies, Run! app (it’s just what you think it would be – run faster!). Occasionally, I even use the phone as a phone!
Just recently, we started a corporate wellness initiative at the office. For those brave souls who want to monitor every step we take and every minute we sleep – we are testing out the fitbit one. Fitbit is an activity tracker. It is more than a pedometer, but it does count your steps. It is actually an accelerometer and an altimeter, so it tracks a whole lot more than just your steps. Every day you wear it (and yes, it only works if you wear it!), it is tracking your steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned, hours slept, distance traveled and quality of sleep. Whew! I am tired just thinking about it!
“What’s the point?” some of you might ask…and with good reason. I am using it to raise my awareness of how much time I am sitting and inactive, e.g. working at computer, driving in the car to pick up kids from school, etc. I have been using it to track sleep – which is rather alarming – since I wake up all the time! And mentioning alarms – the fitbit one allows you to set a vibrating alarm to wake you up in the morning, since you are wearing it to sleep anyway. I have not been very good about entering food / calories consumed, but that is an option as well.
You can log food, activity, weight, sleep, journal, heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels. I have always kept a notebook to log exercise / sports activities; I love to see how much biking, windsurfing, inline skating, running or Tae Kwon Do I have done, or not done. Very motivating to me!
There are great fitbit apps for the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III. The iPhone app works on the iPad as well, but we have mixed reviews on that right now, as the app doesn’t rotate when you move the iPad to different positions.
The fitbit one uses bluetooth to sync to the phones and there is a small usb connector for your computer to sync up to it as well. It works really well, and is super easy. It’s very small and light, almost too small and light, as sometimes you have the panic attack – “where is my fitbit?!”.
I have found myself changing some habits whenever possible. I park farther away from a building even when I am in a hurry, so I can log a few steps. I am walking my daughter to or from school several times a week, so we both get more exercise. I don’t have any stairs nearby, so I am going to have to go hunting for some stairs soon. The only time I have had any significant count on stairs is during a mountain bike ride when fitbit interpreted the elevation changes as stairs; it’s o.k., I’ll take it where I can get it!
Each day fitbit will email you some information – sometimes it’s a reminder to get in 2,000 more steps to achieve your goal. Some days I am an overachiever, and other days I just meet my goal of 10,000 steps and fitbit tells me I “nailed it!”. Each week fitbit sends me a weekly progress report, just to let me know how I am doing. It’s great. You can see your “dashboard” online with all your information, including details about your sleep.
Fitbit is a fun little tool. I have been bitten by fitbit for sure! Now it’s time to get moving.