Friday, January 3, 2014

Fitbit Is It

I'm a sucker for a simple app.  A simple device?  Maybe.  Something that encourages constant motion?  OK I'm listening.  Fitbit (fitbit.com) succeeds where other fitness devices fail - it's so easy even a runner can use it.  Ha!

First and foremost, Fitbit is NOT a replacement for a runner's GPS devices.  The smartphone apps for running (RunKeeper, EndoMondo, Nike+ Running, etc.) come with more bells & whistles than Fitbit devices, and with built-in GPS technology in your smartphone, are more accurate.  Fitbit, however, is more than a running tracker.  Just put it on and it will track your daily steps (or with some of the devices, your sleep habits as well).  This is the beauty of Fitbit, you may forget you're wearing it, and you don't have to push any buttons or swipe any screens, unless you want to...Sitting on the couch watching TV? - the Fitbit won't record any steps.  This is a motivator.  Typing this blog right now I'm not getting any steps tallied.  Also, the Fitbit will reset to 0 at midnight.  No buttons to push, no screens to swipe, it all happens within a very simple device.  Don't worry, all your numbers are being tracked, and shared with others if you so desire.

Just how accurate are those steps and miles traveled statistics that Fitbit produces?  A quick Google search will show many results and discuss the Fitbit's accelerometer algorithms, all quite impressive.  I'm not sure that even matters, however.  You'll quickly figure it out for yourself when you go for a walk.  Push yourself a little and you'll see more steps.  There's your baseline, there's your goal.  Now try meeting that every day.  Then increase your step goal.

My wife bought me the Zip, to see the statistics I can use my phone or log on to the website.  Or, I can tap the face of the device to scroll through the current numbers.  From the company's web site:  Fitbit products continuously sync your stats to your computer and smartphone. Get real-time access to your progress and reminders throughout the day without having to plug in.  I have the client app installed on my Android, where's it's able to sync with the Fitbit "base station" connected to my PC.  Other smartphones may sync automatically via bluetooth.

I will try to update this post in the near future as I become more familiar with Fitbit's capabilities.  The folks at Fitbit set 10,000 steps as my initial default daily step goal.  Depending on your stride length, etc., this may fall between 4-5 miles.  Remember, all of your steps around the house are being tracked.  So keep moving!