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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

FitBit Review

Jules here-

My sister, Betsy, blessed me with a FitBit for my birthday, and I instantly became addicted to the concept.  My fiance's family all have Fitbits and they were thrilled to see that I joined their elitist fitness club.  My first Fitbit was the flex:

It's small, simple in design and linked via bluetooth to my phone so I could see my step progress.  It had a low profile, sleek and a very good transition to wearing something on my wrist (I am not a watch or bracelet fan).  However, the biggest flaw in this generation of Fitbit is the wristband itself... it popped off my wrist while doing errands and I lost it :(  My fiance took pity on me and upgraded me to the Fitbit Charge 2:

At first, I was a little hesitant because it was wider than my flex, but this one had WAY more features including the time and step display as well as heart rate monitoring.  The Charge also clocks how many flights of stairs (some Fitbit flex do as well) and your sleep patterns as well.  As someone who know has owned a Fitbit for a few months, here is my personal and professional review.

The Positives:
  • LOVE getting credit for steps:  As a mom, I am always running around, gathering laundry, herding children, etc.  It's a great perk to my mood when I realize that I got 1500 steps every morning just getting the kids out the door to school!
  • Competition spurs activity: Part of the fun of the Fitbit is befriending people and competing for daily steps-- plus, I naturally like to achieve my own personal daily goals as well.  When seeing how close I am to meeting  a goal, it's easy to motivate myself to go for a walk or jog in place!

  • Encourages "Active" minutes: Because the Charge monitors heart rate, it will tell you how often you have a series of "exercise" minutes-- consistent HR and sustained movement.  
  • Cardio-fitness level- After monitoring your heart rate for a few days, the Charge assesses your fitness level by comparing your max cardio with your baseline or resting HR.  It uses that data to put you on the American Heart Associations cardio fitness scale.
  • Monitoring your sleep: I love and hate this feature-- sometimes it's depressing to see how many times you awaken at night, other times it's awesome to see how quickly you fell and stayed asleep! Great way to watch for habits/cycles.
  • Watching the for trends: I bet this Ultra could be a great tool for some of my patients. For example, I donate blood every couple of months, and I assumed I bounced back quickly. It took 3.5-4 weeks after donation for my HR to drop back to my normal resting heart rate (54 BPM), it stayed at 65-68 BPM after I donated for weeks!! It indicates that I stay MUCH more anemic than I thought....

  • Being a better mom: I really like getting steps in-- which means I don't complain or sigh as much when my kids ask me to tuck them in one more time, or if I have to do one more flight of stairs for a forgotten piece of laundry.  Plus I played WAY more tag and relay races this summer! It changes my perception of movement and activity.
    Walk to the lake? 3,500 steps.
The Negatives:
  •  Competition.....or... Obession?  Betsy and I are particularly competitive and sometimes during our "friendly" challenges we go to the extreme. After I walked 30,000 steps in a day, I wondered if I might take things a bit too far..... my body was a bit exhausted.
  • Sometimes bad parenting. I know, I am contradicting myself, but all things need a balance... I don't sit and read as much and I squeeze in more work-out/walking time.  It sometimes makes me a bit selfish to accomplish my goals. 
  • Unfair guidelines sometimes- I do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where my heartrate is a great cardio workout, etc.... then after 30 minutes I only get 1,500 steps.  Meanwhile, I can saunter the neighborhood for 30 minutes and get 3,000 steps.... not exactly the best metric for fitness.
  • Walk ridiculously.  How can I hold my grocery cart and still get the steps to count!?!? Seriously. I swing my arm like a maniac narrowly missing innocent shoppers with my haphazard one-handed steering....
  • Worthless steps.  When I forget my Fitbit or if it's charging, exercise/walking seems worthless.... seriously....
    So true

 Sum up: I really do love the Fitbit. It can change your perception of daily chores and your movement levels.  I would spring for the more expensive models that have better clasps and cooler heart rate monitoring features!

Easy Rule #532342- A new fad can be fun and healthy!

Easy Rule #342342- "Friendly" competition doesn't exist for fiercely competitive people. 

1 comment:

  1. great analysis Jules :)

    you forgot to mention that one of the downsides is that your fiance always gets a ton more steps than you ;)