Wearing a FitBit for 4 weeks

I got myself a FitBit as Christmas present, a little bit sponsored by my employer in an international "healthy habits" campaign.  I was curious what it would do to me...a notorious non-sports girl.  I don't think I'll start doing sports because of a FitBit, but maybe I can move a little bit more.  And I was curious how much I move and sleep etc.

So I bought the FitBit3 model because I can also swim with it (as if that is often needed) and the battery lasts remarkably longer and the screen would be better.  And I liked the design more than any of the other models.
However I've already noticed that there's a lot of complaints on the synchronisation with the smartphone and I've also noticed that bluetooth disappeared regularly in the first weeks. That seems better now but I never get notifications of messages on the Fitbit , and how much water I drink and my sleep (which are logged on the phone) have only been shown a few times on the Fitbit. So that synchronisation doesn't function a 100% correctly in this model so it seems.

Other than that it is very intuitive and the set-up was easy.  And it doesn't bother me to wear at night.

By default it sets a goal of 10000 steps per day, 10 staircases, 8 km distance, 30 active minutes per day , 1500 ml water drinking, ... and 8 hours with a minimum of 250 steps.  Each hour - 10 min the Fitbit buzzes slightly to tell you and get up and get some more steps if you didn't reach 250 yet.
I changed the goal for staircases to 20 since I live in a 4 story house. I also extended the buzzing beyond business hours.

So how am I doing?


It is no surprise that I easily reach 10000 steps in the weekend (especially if we stay in Leuven) and that on most working days my movement is dramatically low.  I have a working job behind a computer so that's not moving a lot.  But my average is better than I expected. I have had each week an average above 8000 steps. Some days I was surprised to reach 10000: walking the children to school adds a 2000 steps, walking to yoga or walking Kabouter to his swimming class, shopping in the hyper carrefour... You don't need to do extraordinary things to get more steps. 

But still on some days there's just no room to do more: when I take care of the children on my own, when you've worked late and you still try to serve your children some food before they get into bed, ... There's always multiple weekdays where I hardly get 5000 steps.

Funny enough I spent a day in the Ardennes and didn't make the goal (missed it not by much tough) even though we claim we go there to go for walks in nature etc. But in the city you walk a lot more spontaneously whereas in the country side you need a car for everything except for "going for a walk".


Well distance is directly related to the number of steps.  But I reach the 10000 steps goal more often than the 8 km goal


While I set the goal to 20 floors and figured I'd get that each day with 2 fingers in the nose...apparently I do not.  But to my frustration I noticed that not each floor got counted by the Fitbit. It measures atmospheric differences and needs to find at least 3  meters increase in height. So if I happen to stop in the middle of the staircase to pick up something, because the children asked something, ... it didn't count. Or some other moments it didn't count either. Frustrating.

And yet then sometimes you walk to school or through town or in the woods and ... hup, there's 5- 10 stairs for free on your counter.  And that one peak of >50 floors?  That looks like a good day but the reason was horrible: both children were ill on Thursday night and by the morning my fitbit had already counted 12 floors. Ugh....not a good night!

Active minutes
Active minutes only start counting if you have an activity of at least 15 minutes of moderate intensity (so a decent walking pace or so).   I only get active minutes in half of the days and not often more than 30 minutes.   So my physical endurance is still very very weak and doesn't get trained at all.

At the end of last year I felt exhausted. I slept in in my free week and by 10 AM I just wanted to nap again. Emotionally I was having a really rough time and I felt that I could cope less when being tired. So the sleep tracker is something I check each day with great interest. 

I kept the default goal of 8 hours of sleep since I do need a lot of sleep.  I try to be in bed between 22h-22h30 and sleep until 7 AM so I figured I was doing great.

Much to my shock I read each day 40 - 60 minutes awake. huh? What?!  Apparently each individual wakes up 20-30 times during the night, very briefly that we don't even remember. And then add up a few minutes when getting in bed before dozing off,  a child that wakes you up once or a toilet break that each take about 5-10 minutes before you are back asleep. Well it adds up really quickly.

So trying to sleep 8 hours means being in bed for almost 9 hours. Well..I don't reach that. In weekends I do but I average at about 7h30 of sleep ...lately even less. Very interesting to study.  And pretty cool also to see that you are aware of a weird dream when you wake up from an REM phase.

So did the Fitbit create a more healthy habit after 4 weeks? 

It mostly created more awareness. 

Sometimes the device buzzes 10 minutes to the hour and I figure I still need to talk to a colleague about something and then I walk over.  And yes, I've been gone to bed, noticing I'm at 19 floors and I went back down to get that chopstick out of my purse.  Sometimes it's that tiny extra push. But I'm not going to make crazy lifestyle changes. 

Yet it's motivating when someone forgets a bag at school or so and to go get it...to realise "hey this might give me some extra active minutes, that's actually pretty good".  The awareness also creates a good feeling about moving. So it is motivating. I hope it increases my average a little. 

I also try to log how much water I drink and that is way too less, so this also sometimes helps to put that extra glass on my desk and drink it. Little steps...it can only help right.


Leen said…
Hier een grote Fitbit-fan. Niet dat hij me per se meer doet bewegen, hoewel ik probeer te luisteren als hij bzzzt. 10.000 stappen halen lijkt dit jaar plots enorm moeilijk. Trappen tellen doet de mijne niet, vond het ook redelijk nutteloos want hij telt ze ook bv als je bergop wandelt en in de Alpen was het soms hilarisch hoeveel trappen je zo deed. Anyways. Een leuk hulpmiddel voor een gezonder leven!

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