It’s my FitBit birthday – a year to the day since I started using the daily fitness tracker to monitor my every day activity. And here are the scores on the doors:
Over 5 million steps! Over two thousand miles! If I had done all that in a straight line then I would have been in Russia by now. And if you’re wondering what that massive spike in the middle is, you can pretty much sum that up in two words: Disneyland Paris. Take comfy shoes is my advice.
Here’s the beginner’s guide to FitBit I wrote which has plenty of tips for getting in your daily step total. I’ve only missed the daily 10,000 step goal about 5 times across the year, and since June I’ve been doing 12,000 a day and aiming for 100,000 steps across a 7 day week.
I really don’t understand it when I see people whining on social media about how hard it is to hit 10,000 steps in a day. You don’t need to get childcare or leave the house or have a lot of space; all you have to do is move. It’s not that hard at all. Stick on a YouTube video, march on the spot or step side to side and off you go. Your family may judge you as being temporarily insane but sanity is quite overrated anyway. The upside is that you get to watch more movies at the same time – this is why my total number of films watched in 2015 was higher than it’s ever been (103, fact fans).
One interesting thing to note is that the FitBit I’ve got on my wrist today is not the one I started with last year. In fact, I’m on to my third one since the previous two literally fell apart. FitBit customer service were very quick to respond and both times couriered out a replacement to me within a couple of days, but it’s still disappointing that the band itself isn’t more sturdy.
Partly because of that, I’ve stopped wearing it at night. The sleep tracking function is interesting, especially when you see the hard data confirming that yes, you really did have a crap night’s sleep. However, an update of the FitBit Charge last year means that the clock face lights up when you raise your arm. This is very handy during the day, but terrible at night when it’s like a mini torch lighting up every time you roll over in bed. Between that and the two FitBits falling apart, I figure it’s best not worn all night.
Physically, the main change has been that I lost about 15lbs without dieting and with stepping as my only behaviour change, though I then put a chunk of that back on over the Christmas season. Turns out booze and Christmas cake aren’t part of your five a day. Who knew? Still, I’m now about 8lb down on last year. Better off than on I guess.
So all in all, I would say that a FitBit is great for monitoring your activity levels and giving a virtual boot up the backside to get you moving more. But it won’t do it for you. If you are the sort of person who sees that they’ve only done about 3,000 steps by 6pm and just shrugs and sits on the sofa for the rest of the night, it’s not going to help. If, on the other hand, you then put some music on and start stepping until you get to 10,000 and feel that satisfying buzz on your wrist, then FitBit is right up your street. Just remember to rinse and repeat every day, forever.