Monday, May 23, 2011

Finding Digital Fitness

My Mother's Day present that I received this year was a Fitbit.  You might ask yourself why I would receive such a device for being a good mother.  Well, Michael knows my fascination with fitness gadgets and this was on my wishlist since last year.  There were some technological hold ups with this new tool and I had told him to wait to buy it.

Now that the company worked the knots out of their supply chain and made it easier to obtain, I was ready to try this new gizmo.  I gave Michael subtle hints that it was time to buy one for me.   He accommodated me this Mother's Day.

Fitbit is a wireless pedometer and sleep tracker.  It has a base station that connects with your Mac or PC and will upload data from your device when it is within fifteen feet from the base.  It also has an online community with a food and activity website.

It took some time at first, getting used to the Fitbit.  I had a Omron digital pocket pedometer which was durable.  It became my watch because of its digital clock and would let me know how active I was.   However, the pedometer kept falling out of my pocket while sitting down and was bulky to wear.  The Omron also needed about fifteen minutes of sustained walking in order to record aerobic activity.  The other hassle was its seven day memory.  There was no way to keep track of a month long history of my physical movement.

The Fitbit would address all of my misgivings about the Omron pedometer.  When I first removed it from its box, I was amazed at how slim the device was: about the size of my thumb.  Likewise, it was not cumbersome and fit nicely on the waistband of my track pants.  I was delighted already.

The pedometer has a slim button that you press to read your steps, mileage and calories burned.  What I didn't realize was that if you held down the button for two seconds, you could record the distance for a specific activity like mowing my lawn (sorry, I haven't measured that yet).  In addition, it took me more than one night to figure out how to use the sleep tracker function for the Fitbit.

You are supplied a wristband that the Fitbit tucks into nicely.  The company suggests that the wearer place it on their non dominant hand (maybe because of late night nose scratches?).  Then the wearer holds down the button on the Fitbit for two seconds to view the words, "start."  The Fitbit supposedly figures out how long it takes the wearer to fall asleep.  It also monitors how often you wake up during the night.  According to the Fitbit, last night I fell asleep in 6 minutes, slept for 7 hours and 39 minutes and only woke up once.  It rated my sleep as 100% efficient.  Whoo hoo!

What I like about the Fitbit is that the device is keeping me honest.  It shows me how active I am.  My first week of using the pedometer, I took a total of 84,376 steps which works out to an average of 12,054 steps a day.  It calculated that I burned 15,708 calories for that week with a daily average of 2,244 cals.  I found all this out with a weekly newsletter that the company emailed  me.  I liked the convenience of having this information at my fingertips.  It prompts me to adjust my eating according to my activity level.

The one drawback I would say is the Fitbit's nutritional database website.  Fitday's website has a better selection of foods to enter for your food journal.  It seems a lot of Fitbit's food entries are from fast food which I don't eat on a daily basis.

Another limitation for the Fitbit is the lack of a timepiece.  My old Omron doubled as my watch.  Once again I am watchless and have to find a clock to tell me what time it is.

Other than that, I feel that the Fitbit is another gadget that I can't live without now.  It surpasses the plain-vanilla digital pedometers.  It helps me to keep a pulse on my activity and diet.  Especially at the end of a busy day, I get to stare at my Fitbit data and pour over the details of my food, activity or sleep journal.  Better than Facebook!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Diane!

    When I saw the FitBit on your waistband I was surprised at how tiny it is! Anything that gets us motivated to move more is a great investment. I'm glad you are enjoying it!