Technology Review: fitbit, A Healthy New Years Resolution
At the beginning of every new year people make resolutions and the most common is to get healthier. Whether it’s going to a gym or joining Weight Watchers people start down the road to their perfect beach body in January and more often then not, by April they are back to their same old ways. A lot of the fall off has to do with motivation but with advancements in technology, we might have some useful tools to help in that department.
One of my resolutions this year was get healthier than I was last year and I started to use a little thing called the fitbit to help me achieve this goal. The fitbit is a small wireless activity tracker that allows you track your steps and calories burned over the course of a day. It also provides sleep tracking capabilities and an interactive web and mobile hub that allows you see your activity history and log other information such as food and water consumption. I look at this blog post as an initial review of the product and plan to do a followup sometime during the year to provide my final feedback. Let me start by saying there are many products on the market that do things similar to fitbit but based on some reviews and recommendations I decided this was possibly the right “fit” for me.
The first pro and maybe the biggest is its size. It is very small and easy to hide which I’m sure the Fitibit marketing team was not all that thrilled about. After a week of wearing it, I don’t even know it is there. The setup was easy and within minutes I was up and running. It has a small screen on it that with a click of a button it gives you feedback on steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed and a growing flower which indicates how active you are for the day which is a great motivator. Another big pro is that you do not need to take the fitbit off to sync. As long as you are within about 10 feet of the docking station, it syncs wirelessly. The last piece of positive feedback is with the online and mobile application. It is very easy to navigate, provides nice visual analytics and allows you to log your food and water consumption. Logging the food consumption is not as time consuming as you would think. The application has a very large database of food with calorie information to search through to easily log what you ate. In addition, they provide you will some very nice social media features to help motivate you. They have a community to share your progress and interact with other fitbit users and also provide badges similar to Foursquare that you can achieve by reaching certain milestones.
So far the fitbit has exceeded my expectations but there some definite areas for improvement. For starters, I like the fact you can sync wirelessly but I want it do that without having to be near the docking station. Ideally, I want it to interact with my mobile phone and sync wirelessly that way. I’m sure this is coming. The second bit of feedback is that it would be nice if it could alert you in some way when you have been inactive for too long or based on your past information you are off your normal patterns. Whether it starts to vibrate or sends you a text message, some mid-day feedback would be great. Lastly, I think the mental aspect needs to thought through a little more. Stress levels in people are critical to health and though someone is very active, that doesn’t mean they aren’t under stress or are happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of the fitbit and am digging it, but if someone could figure out how to indicate stress levels and provide feedback to relieve it, it would be a homerun. Easier said then done but true.
I have only used the fitbit for a week and thus far the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. It is simple to use and I already see my awareness of activity and food consumption is up. I have yet to explore the community aspect of the online application but look to in the future. So if you are like me and are looking for a healthier you in 2012, Fitibit might be the gadget for you.
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