Last Christmas my husband bought me a Fitbit Flex activity wristband. At first I was not at all enthusiastic about it and thought I would never use it. But after trying it out during the Christmas holidays, my attitude quickly changed. Now I don’t go anywhere without it and have been using it daily for a year! No more jumping on the tram for me – I’d rather walk and get my step count going.
I mainly use the Fitbit for tracking the steps I take, the distance I walk and my active minutes. The Fitbit also tracks the calories you burn.
My daily goals are 10.5 kilometres, 15,000 steps and at least 60 active minutes. To meet these goals I have to make extra effort to go for walks, take the stairs instead of the lift, maybe walk a longer way to my destination or get off the bus at an earlier stop. I was shocked to see how few steps I take if all I do is go to work and come home – it’s certainly unhealthy. On our Christmas holiday in Tenerife last year I felt very motivated when one day my Fitbit told me that I’d taken over 23,000 steps!
However, you should start out with goals that are realistic for you. Fitbit’s first goal is 10,000 steps. The American Heart Association says that 10,000 steps is a good start to improving your health and decreasing the risk of heart disease. But if you are not doing any exercise, this may be too much for you and you should start out with a lower goal.
As the Fitbit flex only tracks walking or running, you can add other exercise you do manually afterwards – for example swimming or cycling. These do not add steps or kilometres to your day but you do get active minutes.
You can also keep track that you are drinking enough water which is great if you a prone to forgetting!
If you want to keep your weight in check, you can make goals on that too – to gain, lose or maintain. You can even monitor what you eat – you enter what you have eaten manually and then observe how that correlates with what you are burning.
In addition to all this you can monitor your sleep. For sleep mode, you can enter by rapidly tapping your Flex. Tapping is not really needed anymore though, as the Flex tracks your sleep automatically – all you need to do is wear it to bed!
The Fitbit has a silent wake alarm which doesn’t disturb your sleeping partner – the Flex vibrates and flashes the centre light. I find this very convenient as a phone wake up can end up waking the whole household!
What I like best about the Flex is how easy it is to keep track on how you are achieving your goals even when your phone or computer is not at hand. All you have to do is double tap on your Fitbit and LED lights will light up indicating what you have achieved in respect to your goals. There are five lights, so for example when you wake up, only one light will blink but by the time you are at the end of your day, you will hopefully get five lights to blink. Every little light indicates that 20% of your goal has been met.
When you do meet your goal, you will be informed by your Fitbit. Suddenly all your tracker’s lights start blinking and vibrating. Yay! You will feel great when that happens, believe me.
If your phone is at hand, you can check your daily status anywhere you are, as you use Bluetooth to sync. Of course you must first install the Fitbit App.
When you are on your computer you can sync with the separate dongle which you insert to your USB port – no cables needed!
Yikes – you can see below that I have not been very good at achieving my goals lately. The bar turns green when that happens. Time to step (LOL!) up.
The Fitbit is charged with a separate USB cable. The tracker is actually inside your wristband – so you will have to remove it and place it in the USB cable for recharging. I charge my Fitbit once a week, usually when I sleep, as I am more interested in steps than my sleep patterns.
At this moment I am using a dark blue wristband but I started out with red. Last summer I had a turquoise wristband which was nice and summery but it did get dirty very fast. You won’t even notice that you are wearing a wristband as it’s slim and flexible – thus very comfortable. I take mine off only for the shower (not really needed as it’s waterproof) and swimming/sauna. Wristbands come in small and large – I use a small.
My only gripe about the Fitbit flex is that there are no fancy (read white with sparkly stones) wristbands available. I would love one for a night out as the regular wristband is not very festive and I’d rather not leave home without it!
Do you have a Fitbit or did you perhaps get one for Christmas? What goals do you have?