Monday, July 9, 2012

One more step: get a little bit fit!


I have a new favorite toy. This is my Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker and even though I've had it for less than a week,


we have become fast friends. Pedometers are nothing new and even the message that we should be walking 10,000 steps a day is not news. But Fitbit is not your father's pedometer - it has all the bells and whistles to make tech geeks happy, and is easy enough to use for those that are tech-challenged.

Even though you've heard the message about getting in 10,000 daily steps, there are new reasons you should pay attention. I wrote previously about how inactivity can be just as detrimental to your health as activity can be beneficial. Researchers are finding out that sitting all day can increase your chances for cardiovascular disease and factors leading to type 2 diabetes and obesity. It's time to step up!


I bought Ryan's Fitbit for Father's Day, knowing I had to get one for myself, too. We heard about Fitbit from a friend that wears one and gets health credits towards her insurance for meeting her daily step goals.


So now we have a pair of dueling activity trackers - in blue and pink (the only two colors they come in) so we can keep them straight. Although the personalized greetings ensure we won't mix them up.



When you pick up the Fitbit, it will motivate you with cheeky messages and motivational words.



I really like the small size of these activity trackers, making them unobtrusive and easy to wear. You can clip the Fitbit to your shorts or waistband. It will work clipped to your shirt or just placed inside a pocket. It also comes with a belt clip and a soft armband that you can wear at night if you choose to never take off your Fitbit! I'm considering wearing mine hooked to the collar of my shirt so people are forced to ask me about it. Is that going too far?


Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a little competitive. What better way to get in your daily steps than to have a friendly competition with your spouse? This particular day, Ryan beat me hands down - over achiever! We need a prize for the weekly winner. I'm thinking a 20 minute foot rub to the victor!

Fitbit will keep track of your daily steps, calories burned (once you enter your body weight online), steps climbed, and miles walked all on the device itself. It has a clock and a timer to allow you to monitor your sleep schedule, or track a workout.


Fitbit comes with easy to use software and a USB dock to allow you to access daily, weekly and monthly summaries of your steps and activity. The data will download wirelessly if you are within range of your computer and the Fitbit battery lasts 5-7 days without needing a charge.The printout above is from Ryan's 16,000 step day, showing he climbed 33 flights and walked 8 miles - not bad!


This pie chart showing total activity time is very telling - the different colors denote activity level. Gray is inactive, yellow is fairly active, blue is lightly active, and red is very active. With a 16,000 step day, Ryan had about 8 hours of activity throughout his day. You can imagine what a 3,000 step day would look like. It's eye opening.

To the right of the above picture you can see what's really fun - comparing your steps with a friend. You can see Ryan (listed as you) and me (Pager) and our steps over the last 7 days (disclaimer: my steps were only over 5 days!), letting you easily compete with encourage your friends to hit their step goals.

The Fitbit isn't cheap ($99), but it does more than just count steps (with the online tools, you can load in a food diary and closely monitor calories consumed/burned, plus it offers a host of online apps and tools to make it fun and interactive.) For the price of eating out to dinner 3-4 times, you can do something amazing and positive for your health.

In just 5 days of wearing the Fitbit, I find myself parking farther away at the grocery store, taking the stairs at work, and finding ways to try to hit 10,000 steps. That has to be a good thing.

Anyone tried Fitbit or anything else similar? Obviously Fitbit is what I know and I'm partial, but I'd like to hear of other options. Let me know if you decide to take 9,999 more steps!

Find more health and fitness info here.

**Blog Update: more Fitbit love here.

5 comments:

  1. I have had the fit bit for over a year. Got it last year when we were doing our slim down challenge throught the company and won a competition. I used it pretty heavy the frist few weeks, but I felt like it was not tracking all my steps, especialy when I would go for a run or exercise. Have you ran into that? I mostly wore mine on my bra strap inside my shirt because I worried I would lose it inside a drum at work or climbing around ladders and stuff if it was on my jeans. Maybe I should get it out and try it again.

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    1. Get it back out! I definitely think it is less accurate running. Have you set your stride length for the Fitbit? I think that makes a difference so you should try that. Put it on and I'll add you to our friendly competition!

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  2. I thought about getting the fit bit, but went for the Jawbone UP instead (http://www.jawbone.com/up) - it also tracks sleep patterns! That was my biggest concern at the time. I have been wearing it for over a year and confirmed exactly what I thought my problem was - bad sleep and not enough movement! It syncs to an iPhone app that is great, but doesn't tie to the food tracking like fit bit does. Since it's a bracelet, I do get a LOT of questions about it!! Have fun with your new toy!

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    1. The jawbone looks very cool and more suited to sleep monitoring (the fitbit just does total sleep time, not levels of sleep), thanks for pointing it out, I hadn't heard of it. Glad you are wearing it and its making a difference for you. Walking in Chicago would be an easy chore! Keep stepping!

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