I got a FitBit for Christmas! I’ve been wearing it for almost two weeks, so I thought I’d write up my impressions so far.
How it works: The short version is that it’s a pedometer with Bluetooth, so it automatically syncs your data to the FitBit website. (it stores your data on the device for up to 7 days, so as long as you sync it before then it will maintain the data at 5 minute intervals) It also measures floors climbed (apparently there’s a tiny barometer inside: neat!), and, in my informal testing, does a good job of accurately counting steps and measuring distance.
The device itself is tiny and cute, and has a small OLED display (works well except in direct sunlight) where you can cycle through steps, distance, floors climbed, calories burned, the current time, and your current “activity score” (in the form of a flower), which measures how active you’ve been over the last hour or so. It comes with a belt clip, which is convenient.
My goals: The website does a good job of gamefying exercise – you get badges for number of steps per day and total, and the same thing for number of floors climbed. Here’s my public profile, and you can also keep track of how friends are doing and such.
I’m sticking with the fairly standard goal of 10,000 steps per day (or really 70,000 steps per week) which is high enough that I have to go out of my way to get it, but not so much that it feels impossible to do on a regular basis.
To help, I’ve come up with some checkpoints throughout the day – 1000 steps by the time I get to work, 3000 steps when I get back from lunch, 6000 steps after my afternoon walk, 7000-7500 when it’s time to leave work. That still means I have to take breaks during the day and walk around the floor, etc, but it’s not a crazy amount all at once, and keeps me from worrying about it too much; as long as I hit the checkpoints I’m on track.
Incidentally, this is usually a fair bit harder on the weekends unless we’re running a ton of errands or something. (grocery shopping is particularly step-friendly 🙂 )
Results: It’s still early, but I did my first 70,000 step week last week, and have been at (or very close to) 10,000 steps every day. So: success so far, but the tricky part will be maintaining this throughout the year.
I think I’m going to try this by worrying a bit less about my weight. I would like to lose some weight, but all the recent articles showing how hard that is have left me a bit wary of that goal. So even if I don’t lose weight, being active every day in a quantifiable way will still improve my health. We’ll see how it goes!