January 18, 2015

How Effective are Wearable Activity Trackers? Part 2

It's been almost a week now that I've been testing out the latest Fitbit Charge. I've been exercising, walking, and sleeping while wearing it, to see if it could improve my life in any way or if I could be fine without it. Folks, the verdict is in. 


I'm also wearing my evening diy LED barrette that works great for night visibility on the track

This is a park that I like to run at. I usually exercise holding my phone so I can see time, distance, and speed using Strava, while listening to music on RockmyRun, two of my favorite apps.


After tracking exercise and sleep patterns on the Fitbit, I tried to contemplate how this could be more convenient than holding my phone, which fits perfectly in my hand and gives me quick access to all of my data, as well as music.

A small display on the app tells me the time of day, my steps, and I can also see if someone is calling me as long as my phone is nearby (which also let's me know someone is calling).

According to my personalized dashboard, which I can access easily online, I have yet to meet my 10K steps a day goal which is a little depressing, and as it turns out I am somewhat of a restless sleeper between the hours of 4am and 6am. Ok...so now what do I do?


This wearable device, while a little fun to play with has become somewhat of a burden, and I've become needlessly obsessed with checking my steps throughout the day, and agonizing about the lack of time spent actually stepping around. "What, only 1,203 steps so far?? Only 4,123 during this entire tennis match? Oh no, I'm never going to meet my goals! I'm never going to get in shape!" etc.

These are my new favorite running shorts, Nike Pro Core Compression which will last longer than the fitness band...


Also, with the weight of it, and the way it feels sticky and a little itchy underneath the band, it is really uncomfortable and I find myself reaching to take it off before I remember this is the only way it works - you have to actually wear it. Finally at the end of this week's trial I've come to this conclusion:

I can't wait to take it off.


For some people, taking steps is a great motivator, and I think challenging friends could be a fun game to play across long distances (inviting people turned out to be too much of a hassle to try). 

However for me, I need something that will be able to translate my data into something more practical and offer me something beyond what I can do with my phone - which has everything, including a built-in pedometer and heart-rate monitor... similar to the latest Fitbit Surge (both products below).

I think Fitbit is gaining a lot of traction and noteworthy press, but they have yet to step up their game. With the latest release of Charge and Surge (which btw this Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch was too ginormous and ridiculously overpriced to even talk about) these fitness toys are a fun way to remind us all to get up and be more active, but so is a puppy. 

So my recommendation, is that until Fitbit comes up with a useful translation of all of this recorded data, to invest in a puppy rather than one of these uncomfortable bands. Which is just as practical. The SPCA also has some older, active dogs available if you can't handle a puppy right now. They will remind you to get up and go for walks, and also act as great alarm clocks. 

Let me know what you think if you want to try or have tried an activity tracker, are there any better, more useful ones that you just love? Can't wait to hear.

-XO Julia

PS: Speaking of uncomfortable, if you have purchased a Fitbit Force and find that it is hurting your wrist in any way, there was a huge recall recently, so go to this link if you'd like to file a complaint and get a full refund here.

Thanks for reading! All photos taken by local photographer, Andrew Zhou whom I'd highly recommend for all of your photography needs. Follow his Instagram here.

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