Thursday, February 12, 2015

My very brief experience with the Fitbit activity counter

I bought the two Fitbit Flex from the Challenger store at Funan the IT Mall about two months ago. One was for me to monitor my own activity level, since I put on about 5 kg of weight over the past 4-5 months due to my injury. The other was for my girlfriend as a Christmas present. It was also to encourage her to monitor her activity levels, since she leads a more sedentary lifestyle than I do.

The Fitbit Flex is considered mid-ranged in terms of price for similar wearable technology It cost me about more than SGD 100 per unit, and that was after a 10% discount, as my friend was a Challenger store member. It came with the actually counter, two wrist bands, a RFID USB dongle (to sync from counter to computer) and a USB charging cable.

My experience with the Fitbit was brief because I might have dropped it somewhere in camp while on my recent ICT and only realised it when I was almost home that same day. The Fitbit wristband should not come out that easily but I was guilty of playing with the strap to while some time away. 

The Fitbit counter probably has an accelerometer, which is meant to be stored in the wrist band. You will have to set up the counter to your desktop PC or smartphone (compatibility depends on your phone’s model). This will mean including information of your timezone, height and weight. Once that is done, you just wear your Fitbit and try to sync it to your desktop PC or smartphone. You will be able to see how many steps you have made during the course of the day and the number of “active” moments. There are other cool functions. You can join a community of Fitbit users, to encourage each other. You can also toggle the sleep monitoring function to assess the quality of your sleep.

Overall, I think that Fitbit is more suitable for people living sedentary lifestyles trying to get fit. It reminds you to clock 10,000 steps daily, inclusive of 30 “active” minutes. Studies have shown that this is the minimum activity level to maintain your body weight, assuming you consume the standard amount of calories. For those who live very active lifestyles, this might not be as meaningful, unless you want to top the charts/table of users using the Fitbit.

I will probably not buy a replacement Fitbit Flex since I bought two of them initially. There is a possibility that I might buy their higher end products. Meanwhile, in the absence of the activity counter, I am just following a schedule of alternate day exercises as well as conscious efforts to take short walks from my desk. 5 more kilogrammes or weight to burn and during the Chinese New Year period! 

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