Already using Fitbit? Join our group at Episcopal Fitbit!
A few weeks ago, my wife told me that she was being given a fitness tracker that would allow her to earn rewards, including possible premium reductions for hitting certain goals. The data from her fitness tracker is uploaded to an application that interfaces with her work's health insurance provider. This is not something I even realized these new 'superpedometers' could do!
Once I saw how motivating an enhanced fitness tracker was for her, I decided to get one also for my personal use. Unfortunately, I do not earn discounts on health insurance, although I did sync it with my Walgreens rewards program and earn points there. The Wirecutter website has quickly become my go-to source for tech info and sure enough, they had recently done an intensive review of fitness trackers and crowned the Fitbit One as most worth our hard-earned money. I purchased one immediately.
Why a Fitness Tracker?
From The Wirecutter:
Basically, it’s a wearable mini-computer that uses sensors to gather different types of data about your activity and body. The most common included sensor is an accelerometer which measures steps and other movements. It then uses algorithms to translate these readings into more helpful figures like the number of calories burned and distance traveled. Some models can even track sleep cycles. Additionally, the One has a built-in altimeter that allows it to factor in stairs and hill-climbs to get a more accurate read on how hard you’re working and how many calories you’ve burned. All of this information is then synced to a smartphone app or computer where you can analyze your habits and gain insight into your health and wellbeing. But data is just one part of the picture.
Fitness trackers, in general, don’t just measure activity–they actually motivate people to exercise more.
This has certainly been true in our case. My wife and I have begun tracking our food through the website, helping us see how many calories we are eating (and burning). Some foods we thought were good for us are actually surprisingly high in calories. We have started walking more often to local restaurants instead of immediately getting in the car. In general, the Fitbit One has made us far more aware of our activity levels and food consumption.
Isn't this just an expensive pedometer?
In a sense, yes. However, for many people, seeing your data over time is tremendously motivating. The Fitbit automatically sends your activity to your computer, including your # of steps, calories burned and stairs climbed. The website then charts each of these items along with any other activity you add (weight, food, weightlifting, etc.) and provides you easy access to graphs and historical information. It will even show you exactly what time of day you were active (or inactive).
Personally, I find it very motivating to see a record of my activity. I sit at my desk most of the day and it's been shocking to see just how little I move during the day. I have been inspired to add more steps on a daily basis, even though I am still falling short of my goals. However, the awareness of my actual vs. perceived activity alone is tremendously beneficial.
The Fitbit Community
One additional factor in choosing Fitbit is the existing community. Once I started looking around, I realized how many other people are using them, including many at my own parish. I had no idea these things even existed, let alone were so popular! You can join groups based on location, interest, amount of weight you're losing, what kind of work you do, goals, etc. These groups then post encouraging messages, issue challenges and allow members to share information. It's nice when you are having an off week to read through some of the message boards.
Realizing how many in my own parish were using a Fitbit, I decided to start a group for Episcopalians to join and encourage each other. If you are a Fitbit user, join our group at Episcopal Fitbit. We are currently exploring various challenges, goals and ways to encourage you to move more. We think it's going to be a lot of fun!
**Note: No one at NEHM has received any compensation or gifts in any form from Fitbit.