My Experiences with Fitbit & Vivofit
For my mom’s birthday last November, I wanted to get her something that she would like, never buy for herself, and would help in her goal to be healthier (although admittedly this is a tricky thing to do when it comes to women, fortunately my mom does not take offense easily). That’s when I got the idea to get her a Fitbit.
A Fitbit is a small device that one wears and measures their activity throughout the day and evening to track sleep. There are many similar devices on the market, but the one I’d always heard about was the Fitbit. I didn’t really know anyone who had used one before so I wasn’t sure if it would be a great gift or one of those things people use for a few weeks and then forget once the novelty wears off. However, my mom was really excited to give it a try.
Soon, she started forwarding me and my family her emails—they were congratulation notes! Every time she would hit a new achievement she would get an email telling her things like “Congrats on earning your first daily 20,000 step badge” and “Congrats on earning your first 50 daily floor badge.” It was exciting to share in her success. We would also congratulate her on her achievements. And…I started to get jealous. I wanted to know how many steps I was walking, how many flights of stairs. I wanted someone to congratulate me and motivate me!
Next thing I knew, I was buying myself one, but this time I decided to try a different device. I bought myself the Garmin VivoFit which had gotten good reviews online. Unfortunately, while the vivofit has an app for my smartphone which actively tracks my steps and activity, it doesn’t send me motivating emails which was a little disappointing. I was still able to compete with my mother. We send each other emails and updates especially when we do really well. My mother smokes me on a regular basis in number of steps and flights of stairs!
I also found the sleep tracking to be very interesting. Since it’s just a motion sensor, all it’s really telling you is how much you toss and turn at night, but I am able to report how good or bad I feel when I wake up each morning, and I can definitely tell I move A LOT more on nights when I wake up feeling less rested.
While the rest of my family hasn’t felt the need to buy their own Fit devices, they have been affected. My mom often talks my stepfather and brother into evening walks with her so she can get in more steps (I think they are crazy for going out in this Indiana cold, but we are very competitive people!).
So far, I think the Fitbit/Vivofit have been really great for my mom and me. Some people have complained that they are just glorified pedometers, and while I can see what they mean, I don’t know of any pedometer that sends you congratulations and tracks your progress electronically. And if you have a friend or family member to help you, a pedometer might work just as well! For me, I like a reminder to get up and move at every opportunity, and that’s what this does.
Have you used a FitBit-like device? What other ways have you used technology to help you keep healthy? Since I am passionate about healthy living (an unavoidable by-product of working at Excell) and love technology, I want to explore how these two can be used to help all of us get healthier and stronger at every age!