Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Is Fitbit worth trying?

In a word, yes.  I knew that I wasn't getting enough exercise, but I thought seeing exactly how little I was getting each day might be motivating.  It definitely is.  I find myself looking for things to do  every day just to get my number up.  If you're not familiar with what a Fitbit is, it's a rubber watch-like band that you wear on your wrist (or in older versions, just a rubber thing that you hold or something like that).  It measures how active you are each day and converts your activity to the equivalent of steps walked or stairs climbed.  Newer versions also monitor your sleep and tell you how long you slept, how many times you woke up, or how often you were restless and therefore not sleeping deeply.  That's been really surprising for me.  I thought I was sleeping 9 - 12 hours each night, but it turns out many nights I'm only actually getting 5 - 6 hours of sleep each night.  Now I understand why I feel tired so much of the time.  It's actually pretty rare for me to have a night where I sleep straight through the night.

If you're ambitious enough, you can also keep a log of what you eat each day and it will tell you if you're burning enough calories to work off what you ate.  That can be tedious, but the nice thing is that once you start typing in a food, it goes to a database of foods that match what you've typed in, and you can choose yours from a list (if it's there).  It then fills in the calories and nutritional information.  If what you ate isn't there, you can type in that information yourself. It then stores it and the next time you eat that same food, you can just choose it from your page and tell it how much you ate.  I find the food section most informative in showing me what percentage of my daily diet is carbs, protein, fat, etc.  It's made me much more aware of how many carbs I eat (too many).  This is a good and bad thing, of course.  It does take the enjoyment out of some of my favorite foods when I think "I've eaten too many carbs, I shouldn't have this".

Sadly, I still haven't gotten to the gym to see what it does during an actual planned workout, I'm guessing it just notes that it's a higher activity level.  The newest models monitor your heart rate which is probably great for people who do cardio on a regular basis.

Also, if you're a competitive person or you're motivated by working out with a buddy, you can invite other people to share their information with you so you can see who was more active. There are even groups on the web site that you can join to find like-minded workout friends.  You can also choose what information you want to share and what to keep private.  So far I've chosen to keep my information private so I can't say how that works.  If I had a good friend who had one I would share information with them, but alas, I don't have any good friends that have one.  For that matter I don't have any close friends who go to a gym.  Odd.

Honestly, the only thing that I don't like about it is that it falls off sometimes.  For how much it costs I think there should be a better way of securing it to your wrist.  I've been lucky that when it has fallen off I've seen it or someone else has and they pointed it out to me. I'm afraid that sooner or later I won't be so lucky and then I'll just be out of the money and my band.

If any of you have one I'd love to hear what you think of yours.

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