A few weeks ago I wrote a review of Fitbit Force, a bracelet that monitors your daily activity and links to online and mobile apps to help you keep track of your health.
Several times in my post, I wrote, “You don’t need one.” But I’ve been using it daily since I wrote the post, and I have a modification to the original review:
You don’t NEED one, but you sure as heck may WANT one.
I wear mine 24 hours a day, and I’ve found it quite handy to keep my activity level top of mind. Through the statistics, I’ve discovered:
- I’m less active than I thought.
When I’m working at the home office, I get maybe 20% of my recommended steps (10,000). Maybe.
- I’m more active than I thought.
When I’m traveling, I get a lot more exercise walking through airports and getting to my engagements than I thought. Instead of sitting and working during layovers, I found myself walking around the airport and getting my 10k steps without too much extra effort.
- I sleep less than I thought.
I thought I regularly slept 8 hours a night, but it’s more like 6.5.
- I forget it’s there.
The bracelet is very convenient. Although iPhone apps will monitor activity as well, I can’t imagine carrying around my phone as much as I wear my bracelet. BUT — great news! If you have an iPhone 5, you can now use the Fitbit app without the bracelet.
- I know it’s there.
Throughout the day it’s presence reminds me to step up the activity, and I love the emails and messages it sends me to encourage me to get all my steps in for the day. You can also earn badges and an occasional “HOORAY!”
- I’m competitive.
Ok, this I knew already. But the Fitbit force has made it come out even more. I am always asking my husband to share his statistics to see if I’m doing better. I’ve also connected with other friends and enjoy encouraging them.
It’s not perfect, though. Here are some drawbacks:
- The band is iffy.
The band is both hard to close and unpredictable. It’s come undone a couple of times without my knowing it, leaving me to frantically search for my $130 tech toy.
- It miscounts.
I’m not convinced of its accuracy. I counted out 100 steps through the house this morning, and it registered 29. If I walk forward in a straight line, it seems to do just fine. But if you’re pacing in a small area, it seems to miss things.
- It gets confused.
It’s goofy with other forms of exercise. My husband wore it on a few bike rides, and it registered thousands of steps. You can log your other activities, but you can’t modify the steps it counted.
In sum, if you’re an office worker who sits too much and could use a reminder to get up and move, one of the top activity monitors could help you add more activity to your day.
I have been wearing the Nike Fuel Band for a year and I have found that it is a great way to keep me consistently active so I can reach my goal every day. I like competing with myself and the gamification features provide positive reinforcement. My husband just got a Fitbit and we often compare results.