While doing some research into pedometers, heart rate monitors and the like last year, I came across the FitBit. There are lots of similar monitors like the JawBone, however after all my research the FitBit Flex was my top pick. I was surprised with it on Christmas morning, and have really been enjoying using it.
The FitBit works with a free app you download to your smart phone. You wear it on your non-dominant wrist, and go about your business. The strap comes in two different sizes (you get both in the pack) and insert the chip into the strap that fits you best. The chip and phone connect via blue tooth, and share your steps, active minutes, calories burned and distance covered. You can also use them with fitness tracking apps like My Fitness Pal to monitor your food and water intake. I especially love it now that I’m back at work and on my feet a lot more – it is interesting to see how many steps I take, and just how active I can be in a standard work day. It makes me walk a little faster, do a few extra laps of the room and even do a few star jumps every now and again!
Each day, you should walk around 10, 000 steps. You can choose steps, distance or active minutes as your aims. The device has five small lights, which you can tap at any time to check on your number of steps without opening the app. Each light corresponds to 2, 500 steps. When you complete your goal for the day it will vibrate and then flash at you to celebrate. The colours on the app will change from red, to orange and green as you progress through the day. It’s great motivation being able to see how much you have moved, and if you set it up, the app will send through push notifications when you’re approaching your goal.
I have had the FitBit for a couple of months now, but wasn’t overly active during the holidays. I was very interested to see how it would hold up during different exercises. As it is an accelerometer, it is made for walking and running. It will log star jumps, the elliptical trainer, and the stationary bike if you ride with your hands on your knees (which is tricky when wearing leggings, as I found out the other day as I kept sliding off the seat!). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for weight work or strength training, or yoga. The FitBit is water proof, but I haven’t given it a water test as I’m too afraid I will break it. I read reviews of people who wore them during mud runs and obstacle courses, and they held up well.
Due to the fact that it doesn’t measure some exercise, I have still been wearing my heart rate monitor at the gym. Don’t mind the resting heart rate – I’m not that fit, and it wasn’t feeding through properly. The FitBit will talk to My Fitness Pal and calibrate your calories burned for the day.
The FitBit can also measure your sleep. Let the app know when you’re about to go to bed, and it will track how long it takes you to fall asleep, when you wake up during the night and if you have any restless periods. It’s very interesting to see if there are any patterns, and how beneficial your shut-eye is. You can also set a silent alarm, and the FitBit will vibrate to wake you up. It’s great for early mornings when you don’t want to wake anyone else up.
How to Get the Most Out Of Your FitBit Flex
– Wear it all day, every day. This is the only way to track accurately and to pick up on any patterns you may be forming. Even if you think you’re not moving much, you might be surprised. It will also spur you on to do incidental exercise.
– Use it in conjunction with other apps. The FitBit talks to a variety of other health and fitness apps. Choose your favourite, and you will be able to track your food and water intake if you’re that way inclined.
– Use it with other monitors. If you enjoy doing exercise other than walking or running, wear a heart rate monitor at the same time as the FitBit. You will be able to check the accuracy and have a well-rounded look at what benefits the exercises are bringing you.
Do you use any fitness monitors? Do you have a FitBit? What do you think of it, and use it for?