Strap It On

Well, it’s been a week since we strapped them on. I had mentioned buying them in passing about a year ago. Like a volunteer seed, it took root in my wife’s thinking. After a year, we finally  took action. Now I can provide some feedback on what a Fitbit has meant to me and my life, at least one week of it.

My Fitbit is a Charge 2, worn on my right wrist. The Fitbit informs me that I walk an average of twelve thousand steps and five miles a day. My highest miles walked were five point six, measured out in fourteen thousand steps. My resting BPM is fifty-nine, with a low of fifty-five and a high of one hundred thirty-nine, reached when I walked up the equivalent of thirteen floors of steps while doing an urban hike. I averaged seven hours and fifty-seven minutes of sleep per night, awakening three times. I’m usually restless twelve times per night, with a high of seventeen.

All interesting stuff. I’m dubious about its accuracy. It seems to think you’re sleeping if you’re reclined and not moving. But my wife and I both note, yeah, we’re in bed, but we’re not always sleeping just because we’re not moving.

I’m pretty pleased with my walking activity. We’ve endured many days in the low mid to low twenties and high teens where built up ice encumbered walking. I’m also recovering from wrenching my right knee while on the ladder, cleaning smoothie off the kitchen ceiling.

The Fitbit seems very dependent on arm movement. Don’t move your arms, you don’t get credit, it seems. It also sometimes seems to work in blocks. Yesterday, crossing the house to attend the cats, I checked my steps: twelve thousand, six hundred forty. I found the cats, petted them, provided them with catnip fixes, went around checking on doors, poured and drank some water, refilled the water pitcher, and took out the recycling. Then I checked my Fitbit.

It still registered twelve thousand, six hundred forty.

I knew I’d been moving around, and I swung my arms when I was walking, if I didn’t carry anything, so I knew – what? That the steps hadn’t registered. But was it a question of yet? 

Indeed it was. After sitting down at the computer and turning on Sneaky Pet’ on Amazon, I checked my Fitbit, and my steps had jumped. It had a full charge, done earlier that day, so I put this down to a system flaw.

Despite these things, I like the Fitbit. I installed the app on my iTablet or whatever it’s called and the two synchronize whenever they’re near one another. What I like is that it tracks and counts a great deal of information. Even if it’s rudimentary or flawed, it provides a sufficient structure to encourage me to do more and be more mindful about what I’m doing. The Fitbit buzzes every hour to remind me to move around, something I appreciate. My wife and I often make a game of that, first marching around to ‘Colonel Bogey’s March’and then chasing each other around the furniture until one of us needs to go pee.

Once I have three weeks of averages, I can establish goals to move around more. The biggest thing is that I want this as a companion, and not a master. I don’t want to become obsessed with counting steps or miles and reaching higher and higher levels, but to use it to enhance my healthy practices.

Of course, part of me thinks into the future, when the Fitbit’s technology is improved and replaced. Then I expect to find it in a drawer, forgotten, and take the opportunity to write, “Do you remember Fitbits? We used to wear them to count our steps.”

Who knows what we’ll be using by then?



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