Thinking of getting a Fitbit, say yes!
By Barry Donnelly
With all the different devices available it is hard to decide which one is best for you. I won’t be covering that in this article but what I would like to share with you is my experience so far with the supporting smartphone app.
I have just recently upgraded from a Fitbit Flex to a Flex 2. I have used my first Fitbit Flex on and off for the past 3 years. I have enjoyed using it but there have been times when using it has felt more like a chore. However that has changed very recently and I have started to enjoy my Fitbit again, the primary reason for this is the Fitbit App.
In my opinion, it is one of the best features about having a Fitbit. Of course, there are some really great features such as heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, music control, call and text notifications, and steps and calories counting from the wide range of Fitbit products available. However, the app brings all this information together and this is where I have found considerable enjoyment with it and it has also increased my competitive streak.
When you first download the app you will be asked to provide the usual information such as birthday, height, and weight. Once you have filled this in you can then have fun with setting up some goals.
Health Data Everywhere
This allows you to input your daily step goal. The general recommendation is to walk 10,000 steps per day. I would recommend setting this as your goal as you will be able to judge your level of activity after a few days. Once you have an understanding of how many steps you usually take you can then adjust accordingly. I would suggest that if you are lower than 10,000 set a more appropriate goal and then work up to the 10,000 steps.
You can also set a goal for the number of minutes you would like to be active. Active minutes are calculated using metabolic equivalents (METSs). METs help measure the energy expenditure of various activities and can be used as indicators for exercise intensity. A MET of 1 is a body at rest. So you will earn active minutes when your MET is on or above 3.
There are also options to set your exercise goals and my favourite which is tracking your Sleep.
Within this section, you can set your “Time Asleep” goal (adults are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night). You can also set a target sleep schedule of when you want to aim to go to sleep and wake up. There is even an option to set a reminder for when it is getting close to your bedtime. The app also allows you to adjust your sleep settings in two modes;
- Normal: this counts significant movement as being awake(rolling over) and is fine for most users
- Sensitive: this will result in your device recording nearly all of your movements. This setting may be helpful for users who wake up feeling tired even though their sleep history shows sufficient rest.
Another cool feature is the option for setting a silent alarm. There is nothing worse than unexpectedly waking up to the sound of your alarm. You can set a silent alarm on your device, just go to the dashboard and hit the + button. This will then set your device to vibrate at your desired alarm time. This is considerably better than getting startled out of your bed (although that is needed sometimes).
If one of the reasons you purchased a Fitbit was to help you lose weight there is also a section within the app which will let you log the food and liquids you consume on a daily basis. It can even use your camera to scan the barcode of food products for ease of entry and customizable entries.
The app allows you to enlist your family, friends, and colleagues to compete in a number of different step competitions. You will be comparing your daily and weekly steps against them and believe me since some of us in the office have started doing this the competition is fierce but friendly.
There are four different challenges; Goal Day, Workweek Hustle, Daily Showdown and Weekend Warrior. You also have the ability to Cheer or Taunt your friends, I have issued more taunts than cheers at the moment (I am quite competitive).
When you win a challenge you get a badge which then goes on your profile (more bragging rights) and as you clock up those steps you will be rewarded with more badges such as the India badge which is rewarded for walking the length of India which is 3,213 km.
The app will allow you to add 2-10 friends into a challenge however if you want to add more you can do this on the fitbit.com website. We have set this one up and for the first 8 days in February all of the Simply Computing staff have taken 1.15 million steps and travelled 853km.
If you are still undecided about what device to purchase why not download the Fitbit App (compatible with iPhone 5S and later) and try it out. You will have limited features but it at least it will give you an idea of what it is like to use the app and also what data you may find useful. The Fitbit Mobile-Track lets you track basic health and fitness activity including steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned.
If you are unsure of what device is right for you why not call into one of our stores today and our staff will be happy to assist finding the one that is right for you. Alternatively you can go find out more information about the trackers here