Philip’s Fitness Gadget of the Month: the Tiny but Powerful FitBit
Think of the FitBit as a Pedometer on Steroids.
I was one of the very first people to receive a FitBit when they started shipping them 3 years ago. I even endured a 4-month waiting list before I finally received mine…and I’ve since purchased another.
The FitBit ($99) is a small electronic device that you wear much like a money clip, attached to your belt, pocket or sports bra. The device monitors your movement, both horizontally and vertically. The clip contains an accelerometer, a device that reads acceleration forces to measure your motion patterns and report your calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled, and sleep quality (yes, I said sleep quality!). It also contains an altimeter: a device to measure your vertical distances, either stairs or hills.
The FitBit is very easy to set-up. Along with the FitBit, you receive a small base station, which allows you to charge your device and serves as a wireless data relay center, so your FitBit can download your data wirelessly, whenever you are within 15 feet of your computer. Pretty cool, huh?
You wear the FitBit all day long and the device measures your movement. You can then view your activities online on your own personal FitBit page. You can see when you were the most active, how many steps you took, how many calories you burned, how many floors you climbed, etc. The webpage is really comprehensive, showing you analytical graphs from a historical perspective, letting you log your calorie consumption, your water intake, and other physical activities that the FitBit can’t measure accurately: particularly activities such as yoga or swimming. There is a social aspect to the FitBit site, as well. You can add other FitBit wearers as “friends” and can see how active they are!
Now to the sleep quality measurements I mentioned earlier. This is one of my favorite and, for me, most useful functions of the FitBit. Included with your device is a lightweight black wristband which velcros around your wrist and includes a small pocket where your FitBit can be clipped. You place it on your wrist as you are going to sleep, press and hold the button to activate it, and then drift off to sleep. In the morning, as soon as you wake, you press and hold the button again and after your FitBit has downloaded your data, you can go to your FitBit page and check your sleep efficiency. Your movement throughout the night is tracked, showing when you were in deep-sleep and when you were more restless.
I first became interested in the FitBit because it was a new “toy” and I thought the concept was pretty cool. Since then, I have incorporated this little device into my daily schedule. From my perspective, the main benefit of the FitBit is that it keeps an automatic activity journal for me. I can see how sleep — or lack of it — affects my day, what my patterns of gaining/losing weight tend to be, and it helps me stay focused on a very important aspect of my life that I have been known to neglect…exercise.
I recommend the FitBit to everyone that I know. And if you are striving for a more healthy and active lifestyle, this would be a great gift to give yourself…or someone you care about.
Contributed by: Philip Niekro, GMM Customer Service Manager
Philip — one of the warm and friendly voices you hear when you call GMM Customer Service — was recently promoted to GMM Customer Service Manager! His mission is to ensure that every GMM customer receives the highest quality customer service possible, assisting those who wish to place an order, updating customer accounts, and ensuring that customer feedback is a top priority. Philip is also a self-avowed gadget geek, an avid runner, and a very engaged member of the Open Hand Health & Wellness Committee.