a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Fitbit

Thursday, January 16, 2014


SUMMARY: Cool thing!

I won a fitbit in an agility friend's fitness participation raffle! It's the Fitbit Flex, and there's a lot about it that I like.

That's it, next to my big black watch. Did my friend pick the perfect teal color for me, or what?

It looks imposing here, but it's soft, light, and flexible, and I don't even notice that I'm wearing it. That's good, because I've been sleeping in it, and THAT's because it tracks how restless or awake I am during the night, and tells me how many hours I actually slept. Very cool.

It also tracks numbers of steps taken, minutes of very active movement, and floors climbed (a "floor" is another way of saying 10 feet gain in elevation). It translates that into miles walked and calories burned.  I can view the current daily numbers on the wristband display. Also, it connects to the fitbit web site, where my dashboard syncs with the wristband to get the current data and displays my goals, accomplishments, and so on. It apparently also can help you track food eaten; my friend uses hers for that, but I don't.

So far--after 5 days--I'm liking it. It has been much more accurate in step counting than the brand new pedometer that I bought a couple of months ago, which adds so many imaginary steps to my count that I really have no idea how much I've walked.

I don't much like the clasp, which is very hard to fasten. (Not that, not only do the online reviews almost all agree with me, but there are lots of complaints about people losing their fitbits because they pop open when they brush against things and the people didn't notice). I hope they change it in future versions.

The only time that it seems to have failed me is yesterday.

Yesterday morning I did the usual various things around the house, then drove in to my client site, walked through the parking garage and down a long corridor to a meeting, sat in the meeting for an hour with a little bit of getting up and moving around, walked back to my car, drove to my dentist's office, walked into the office to check in, walked back outside. At that point, it said that I had walked about 1.4 miles, or about 2800 steps. Perfectly reasonable.

Because I was early for the dentist, I went for a walk. Walked 35 minutes briskly without stopping, and at that point I hit 3 miles (6000 steps). So far so good.

Then I drove home, walked around the yard (not a big yard) to pick up poop, threw the toy for the dogs a few times and played a little tug, watered the potted plants along the back wall of the house. Fed the dogs dinner, drove out to the movie theater, parked at the far side of the parking lot (maybe a couple hundred feet from the theater entrance). Walked to the theater to check the line for the movie, walked back to my car to get my stuff. Back to the theater, sat on a chair in line for 45 minutes until my friend showed up.

Walked my stuff back to the car and rejoined my friend in line. Stood there talking for 15 minutes, then walked into the theater, which was right off the lobby. Got a seat, walked out to the lobby to buy food (no waiting in line), back into the theater, back out to the girls' room (across the hall from the theater door), back into the theater. After the movie, walked back out to my car, drove home. Walked into the house, greeted the dogs a bit and threw a toy for Boost, sat down.

Fitbit now said that I had walked 10,000 steps (5 miles) for the day. There is NO WAY that that minimal activity added up to two miles, if 35 minutes of very brisk walking was only 1.6 miles.

So maybe it does track bumpy road bounces. Dunno.  Dang California's crumbling freeways. Anyway, something to watch for and figure out so that I'm aware of what's going on.

But I love having the info on my computer, I love its general accuracy, how easy it is to view the data throughout the day on my wrist, how comfortable it is to wear. AND I've found that I know lots of other people with fitbits. You can become "fitbit friends", which means that  their weekly totals of steps taken are then displayed on your dashboard, nifty for cross-motivation and for pushing to make your goals.

My current goals--I'm starting low-ish--are to walk 5 miles a day (first 3 days I aimed at 3 miles, but I made that easily, so I upped it) and climb 20 stories (still pretty easy, but I'm still pretty out of shape).

Fitbit, I'm sure, will be glad to help me. It's already flirting with me: After I recharged it for the first time, it displayed "LOVEU." Isn't that sweet?


  1. Interesting. Especially if it continues to motivate you to fit in those brisk walks. Let me know if you continue to enjoy it. As I sit here on the sofa...

    1. I know, it's so easy to just keep sitting, especially when it's as cold as you folks have had it. I'll try to remember to keep posting on my fitbit usage.