Late last year for my birthday, I requested a Fitbit. It was a spur of the moment thing – I’d seen them discussed on Whirlpool, and thought it sounded kinda cool. I didn’t realise then that this would start me on a journey that would lead to both an increase in my fitness levels and a decrease in my weight. To begin with, it was just a cool toy to play with.
The Fitbit is essentially a pedometer that counts steps and (if you have the ‘One’ as I do) stairs. This in turn enables it to work out your distance traveled and calories* burnt. What separates it from old ‘dumb’ pedometers is that it also has an online dashboard and an app for your phone/tablet that lets you see all these numbers. There’s even a social side to it – add friends, cheer them on and compete with them.
You simply set your goal (a recommended goal is 10,000 steps per day, but you can increase or decrease it) and off you go. The Fitbit syncs to the online dashboard via certain smartphones/tablets, or by a dongle you can use with your computer. If your main form of . If your main form of exercise is step based (eg walking, running etc), the Fitbit is great (if it’s something else eg cycling, weights etc, a HRM might be better suited). I find myself checking it through the day, and moving more if I’m not close enough to my goal (I’ve been known to run on the spot to get to goal!).
There are other similar products on the market, and I imagine they work in a similar way. As above, I have the ‘One’ which clips onto my clothing. From comparisons with others who have the ‘Flex’ (bracelet) version, it is a little more accurate in that it doesn’t count arm waves as steps. The One has a screen that shows your current activity (number of steps, stairs, cals burnt etc). I prefer the One because I’m big on wearing bracelets, but there are disadvantages. You need to remember to clip it onto your clothing, and just as importantly, remember to take it off before throwing your clothes in the washing machine (it isn’t waterproof)! I did have problems with getting the dongle to sync via my computer when I first received it, but Fitbit replaced it for me with no dramas. I’ve also had issues when traveling in the truck – the other day it recorded over 30,000 steps whilst I was traveling! It’s easy enough to override these ‘steps’ though, via the app or online dashboard.
It’s no exaggeration to say that my Fitbit has changed my life – I’ve gone from minimal exercise (honestly, a day with no extra effort is about 2000 steps for me) to going for a 6km walk every morning. It’s changing me for the better, I’m loving getting outside and it’s exercise that I can easily continue when I’m away from home (and see more of my destination than I normally do!). After about 4 months of continuously hitting 10,000 steps per day, I decided I wanted to work on lowering my weight, which is when MyFitnessPal, FitBit Aria (wifi scales) and TrendWeight came into play. But that’s a discussion for another day!
*nb calories is used in the USA, whilst kilojoules tend to be used in Australia (some of our food packaging has both listed). I try to work in kj for the most part, however some apps (such as Fitbit) only allow for calories. 1 cal = 4.1868 kj.