Two weeks ago my Fitbit arrived and I've barely taken it off since. In the past I've used pedometers and found them useful for tracking my steps but a little impractical. They'd fall off my work trousers, I'd accidentally hit the reset button halfway through the day and lose my work for the day. I did have the Nintendo Walk With Me one but having to sync it to your DS at the end of each day or two was a little inconvenient at times (if you were away from home and your DS, you'd risk losing your total after a couple of days).
Until now I've been using the Samsung Health app on my phone, which is good
but only counts steps while you're carrying your phone. As my phone spends its
time at work in my locker, and frequently is left in the bedroom or on the
coffee table when I'm at home, I knew I was missing out on steps. I did consider
knitting a little pouch so that I could carry it around with me when I was home
at least, but I'd heard about Fitbits and I liked the idea of having something I
could wear on my wrist.
I also liked the idea of something which could track things like floors
climbed, calories burned and even your heart rate. There's a fantastic range of
Fitbits available. They advertise that there's one for literally every
lifestyle. I settled on the Charge because if I'm going to wear something on my
wrist, it might as well act as a watch. But it wasn't that much more for a
Charge HR which tracks your heart rate and I thought that would be a nice little
feature to have as well.
I read online that it's useful to download the Fitbit app and set up your
profile before you get your device and I'm glad I did because it meant that as
soon as I got it out the box, I was able to set it up. It took about an hour and
a half of charging to be ready to wear. A full charge lasts roughly five days
and you simply plug it into the USB charger. I kind of begrudge the time I'm not
wearing it when I do have to move around, so I try and time my charges for times
when I'll be sitting down at my laptop anyway. So far they've tied up pretty
I should add a note on the sizing of the Fitbits because, aside from which
sort to get, the wristband sizing caused me the biggest headache before I bought
it. The Charge HR comes in large and small and I seemed to be at the large end
of small or the small end of large. By the looks of things, most places are
fairly helpful when it comes to swapping if you get the wrong size.
In the end, I got Mr Click to measure my wrist and compared it to the sizing
chart on the Fitbit website. This suggested that I should go for the small, and
I'm glad I did. It fits comfortably on my wrist and I normally wear it around
the middle hole; if my wrist gets any larger I've got four more holes, and if it
gets thinner I've got another five to go. I suspect that if I'd gone for the
large I wouldn't have anywhere to go if I lost weight.
I'll be honest. For almost the first week that I had it, I found myself
constantly aware of this thing on my wrist. It's not heavy or particularly bulky
once you get used to it. It was just a lot larger than the watch I had been
wearing before. I also felt the need to keep checking how I was getting on
throughout the day. Now I regularly forget that I'm even wearing it.
One of the first things that I noticed was that I do take more steps than I
thought I did. The step counter on my phone would count somewhere between 200
and 4,000 steps on the average weekday, depending on what I was up to and
whether I had my phone on me. My Fitbit shows that I do closer to 7,000 most
weekdays, so it's not that much more of a push to get up to 10,000 from
With the Fitbit app you get badges for certain achievements. On my first day
I picked up the Happy Hill badge for climbing 10 flights of stairs; the Fitbit
is able to tell when you are climbing a slope or staircase and the hill I live
at the top of is roughly equivalent to eight flights of stairs. I've also
received a 'Boat Shoe' badge for walking 5,000 steps in one go and a 'Sneaker'
badge for taking a walk of 10,000 steps.
The sleep tracking function is really useful as well. Have you ever woken up
feeling like you've had an awful night's sleep but you're not sure why? The
Charge HR tracks your sleep and registers when you're awake and restless. One
morning I woke up feeling exhausted and like I'd hardly slept; my Fitbit agreed
saying that although I'd only been awake twice, I'd been restless twenty-one
So far I've not really used the calorie or water trackers but they're
something that I might play around with in the future. I have started tracking
my fluid intake in my journal because I know I don't always drink as much as I
should. It would be good to get into the habit of tracking it in the app as
The feature that I am using quite a lot is the silent alarm. You set an alarm
through the app and then the Charge HR vibrates to alert you. I use one at
6:25am on a weekday to wake me up before the main alarm goes off, and one an
hour later to remind me to get up and take the dog for a walk. It's the same
thing that alerts you when you achieve your day's goal, except the daily step
goal is accompanied by a little firework display on the face of the Charge
Being able to see my progress throughout the day is a fantastic motivator for
me. For example, on the day I wrote this post, I had hit 8,400 steps so I did
everything I could to squeeze in the 1,600 steps that I needed to get that
firework display, up to and including walking up and down the living room whilst
checking my phone to keep on getting those steps in.
It's only been two weeks so far, but I'm really enjoying it and I'm
constantly looking for people I can add on the Fitibit site. I'm terribly
competitive and I'm determined to get more floors climbed badges than any of my
friends. If you've got a Fitbit of any sort, I'd love to add you on
Fitbit.com. You can view my profile here.