This post talks about the benefits of using a Fitbit exercise tracker. I have not received any compensation from the Fitbit corporation for this post. I purchased my Fitbit with my own money and receive nothing in return. This post is based on my own experience using the product.
One of the things that was important to me when I made the decision to be more active was to find some way to track how active I was being throughout the day. That is even more important because as a professional blogger and health coach who works from home, I spend a LOT of time sitting on my couch, working on my laptop. So it is really easy to get lost in what I’m doing throughout the day and be relatively sedentary.
So I made the choice to purchase a Fitbit Flex 2 to help me be more conscious about moving regularly. And to help me see just how sedentary I was being. So I wore it for a day and went about my normal routine. The amount of steps that I took was pretty piddly. Less than 4000 steps in a day! Ugh!
I knew that had to change, so I decided to challenge myself to walk 10000 steps a day or more. So far, I am smashing that goal daily.
So what are the benefits of using a Fitbit?
A Great App that helps you track your progress
One thing that makes the Fitbit even greater is an app that is full of plenty of ways to track your progress and give you encouragement to reach your goals. It is available on the iTunes app store and Google Play. The app is very comprehensive. It tracks steps, flights of stairs climbed, numerous other standard forms of exercise, calories burned, amount of active time, how many miles walked, how you are sleeping, water consumed, weight loss, hourly activity and much more. You can set goals as well for any of the trackers that you activate. The app will show you your progress and will even help you celebrate when you complete a goal.
Tracking steps each day
It was shocking to me to realize just how sedentary I had become. Part of that was because of the fatigue I was dealing with as a result of stress. Some of it was just allowing myself to get engrossed in work and forget to get up and move. Being physically inactive can cause some serious health problems! It increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. It lowers your life expectancy and increases depression and anxiety too. The Fitbit is a great “wake up call” tool. You have proof of how much (or how little) you’ve been moving throughout the day. It can be a great tool to encourage you to get off of the couch and move! You can also set specific step goals for each day, and change them as your activity level increases. Want to set step goals for the work week and not the weekend? You can do that! It is very customizable!
Experts recommend that you move for at least a few minutes every hour, especially if you have a sedentary job. Getting 250 steps minimum each hour can help to counteract the negative effects of sitting regularly. The Fitbit has an activity reminder that lets you know if you haven’t gotten your 250 steps in. You can set the reminder for as many as 14 hours each day. That feature has been a great reminder to me to get up off of the couch…especially if I’ve been engrossed in writing for awhile! The beauty of 250 steps is that it only takes a few minutes each hour to log those steps! If you haven’t completed your steps 10 minutes before the next hour, the Fitbit will notify you with pink and white lights and vibrations.
Do you drink enough water during the day? You can setup your Fitbit to help you track how much water you drink each day.
And if you want, you can also set a goal for how much water your would like to drink. You just go into the app as you drink water throughout the day until you hit your goal. It will get you drinking more water, which is important not only for hydration, but for the detoxification of the body.
I had always struggled with getting enough water each day, but my consumption has increased significantly. And each time I look at the app throughout the day, I am reminded that I need to go and drink more.
Track your sleep
Do you know how many hours you sleep each night on average? Or how about how often you toss and turn throughout the night? If you wear your Fitbit to sleep, then you can track how long you are sleeping on average and how restless you are throughout the night. This is a great way to see what the quality of your sleep is so that you can do what you can to make necessary changes. Sleeping well is an important part of being healthy, and if you are not getting good quality sleep, it will impact your health.
I had been sleeping on an old, saggy mattress when I first got my Fitbit. And I was pretty restless and tossed and turned a LOT! Then I got a new bed (Select Comfort). I was shocked at how much better I sleep through the night now. I hardly move at all! With the sleep tracker, you can set specific sleep goals for which ever days of the week or weekend you’d like. I did this and it did show me that I need to make an effort to get to sleep a little earlier at night during the week, so that I can hit my sleep goal. I’ve been working hard at doing that and it’s improved how much I’m sleeping! And I’m feeling better as a result!
Track your calories and weight
If you want to know how many calories you are eating and how much weight you are losing, you can track both of them with your Fitbit. I haven’t actually been tracking calories, but I do track my weight. I weigh in weekly and can notate that right in the app. It allows me to see the general trend in weight loss.
A large community
One things that is great about the Fitbit is that there is a large community of users that you can connect with…including friends. There are a couple of ways that you can use the community to get support and encouragement. First, there are some wonderful groups that you can be a part of. You can find them under the community tab. Find a group or two that work for you and join. You can find some great support there.
People are awesome at cheering milestones and if you have a question, that’s a great place to ask. In the community tab, you can also connect with friends that are also Fitbit users. As you build up your network of friends you can create or participate in different challenges. I get invited to join the Workweek Hustle challenge and the Weekend Warrior challenge by my friends regularly. The winner gets a digital trophy. A little competition is a great way to inspire yourself to get more active!
For me the Fitbit Flex 2 has been great! It is really helping to hold me accountable and has kept me active. I have now had my Fitbit for 4 weeks. In that time, I have hit my step goal of 10000 steps every single day! In fact, I haven’t had one day when I walk less than 12000 steps, and have had many days where I’ve walked between 15000 and 20000 steps!
I walked a 5k recently with some friends and I could feel a difference in my fitness level from when I had walked the same 5k a year ago. I wasn’t winded at all and there was never a time when I was so tired that I just wanted to stop! It was so much easier! I’m also losing weight and inches as a result! I’ve lost over 8 pounds so far and more than 9 inches!
So if you want to be more accountable and are looking for encouragement for your fitness goals, an exercise tracker like the Fitbit can help. But you have to use it!