Before Christmas I had been looking into investing in my first ever fitness tracker. There was, admittedly, a lot of umming and ahhing on my part. I wasn’t sure if it would be a helpful gadget for me to have or if it would in any way help to motivate me to increase my exercise and activity levels. I knew, however, that I wanted to make changes for my own health and with that level of motivation in mind I decided to give it a go. I took weeks looking over different brands, reviews, comments on them and thinking about what I wanted, finally settling on a Fitbit Charge as I decided that I might as well buy one that has some level of sleep tracking as well given that I haven’t been sleeping great for the past couple of months what with all the stress I’ve been under.
I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and wanted to do so before writing about it and doing a small review just going over what I like, dislike and whether it’s helped me at all.
I haven’t worn a watch type thing on my wrist for a very long time and I like not having one there as I dislike how often I used to check on the time when I did, it became a constant habit and the main reason I stopped wearing one. My concern that this habit would be restarted was unfounded, however, as I usually forget that I’m even wearing the tracker since it’s light weight, comfortable, rubbery and more like wearing a thicker wrist band than anything else. You can check the time by tapping the display area or pressing the button at the side, pressing the button more times then brings up your pedometer info, distance moved, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed and, if you have one set, when your alarm will next go off.
While I like the idea of the silent alarms I do find them a little unnerving, not so much in the day but in the mornings and I have found I actually need a fairly decent level of sound to really wake me up properly. I don’t have to worry about waking anyone else up so it’s not a problem and I prefer to leave the vibrations of the tracker to notifying me when I’ve reached a goal such as walking 10,000 steps in one day.
So far I’ve had no issues with the tracker coming off though now that I’ve been using it a while I have found the grips that hold the band on looser to peg in and release. I worry that after extended use they may be likely to pop off and as such a buckle would be much preferred though, as I said, so far I’ve had no issues with this coming close to happening.
The sleep activity tracker has been a really interesting addition for me to see a general overview of how much solid sleep I get and how restless I am during the night. It tots up the time spent actually sleeping versus the time spent being restless and/or awake during the night which I’ve enjoyed looking at to see just how much sleep I’m getting. One of the main reasons I got the Charge was because it auto detects sleep, you don’t have to set it into sleep mode which I was pretty sure I would forget to do if I had to do so manually.
To get the most out of the tracker you need a device or browser capable of running a version of the Fitbit app which you can sync to the Fitbit either manually by plugging into your computer or by Bluetooth which is what I’ve been doing as it’s super easy and I don’t have to even think about it. It just happens and all the information is there and ready for when I want to go over it. I like the app and how simple it is to use though admittedly I haven’t spent much time really delving into all it can do or any of the challenge or goal functions really. You do, however, get emails when you reach certain milestones with a ‘badge’ for those achievements as well as emails when your Fitbit is getting low on battery power to remind you to charge it, which again is helpful and doesn’t leave me wearing it for ages when it’s run out of battery.
If you’re trying to keep a track of your calories and/or lose or gain weight the Fitbit syncs with My Fitness Pal which in itself is a great app for keeping track of your food intake and exercise sessions. I started doing this to try it out though haven’t really been keeping a track of my calories or food habits, purely because my goal isn’t to primarily lose weight.
In conclusion; the Fitbit has really helped me to keep motivated though I’m not sure if that’s because of what it does or because I don’t want to feel that the money I spent on it is in any way wasted. The sleep tracking has been interesting and probably the most useful part for me along with the pedometer and silent alarms, even if I do find the vibration of them a little unnerving. While my goal isn’t to lose weight I have decided that if I continue to keep active and increasing my activity and if I manage to get to my first weight goal, which in and of itself would be a miracle, then I may well upgrade to the new Fitbit Charge HR in the future for the heart rate monitor function, buckle strap and being able to order it in a nice plum/purpley colour (which I couldn’t get for the Charge), though that is a way in the future as it stands now.
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