As I resume jogging after years of being unable to due to my knees, I’ve been experimenting with the best way to track my progress. Although I’ve tried various phone apps that are helpful for logging runs, it wasn’t giving me all that I wanted. I had been researching different fitness trackers and thinking about which one to get when I received a Fitbit Charge to test out. It was quite serendipitous as it ended up being exactly what I was looking for!
The Fitbit Charge works with iPhone or Android and charges easily via USB. You wear it on your wrist as you go about your day to track data, and can get detailed reports on your progress using the app. When you create an account, it uses your personal information and goals to set daily targets for you. It was fast and easy to set up, and I was soon on my way to becoming a Fitbit fan.
The Fitbit Charge tracks several different metrics, such as daily steps taken, total miles walked, total calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, and number of active minutes. You can view your totals any time by hitting the button on your tracker or by pulling up the app. The Fitbit vibrates to let you know when you hit your step goal for the day!
I love using my Fitbit rather than a standalone running app because it’s essentially tracking my progress 24/7, rather than just my keeping track of my jogs. It’s important to know where I’m at for the day, especially since my job is so sedentary. I noticed that once I got my Fitbit, I began purposely going out of my way to take stairs or extra steps, since I was “Getting credit” for them. I had to laugh at myself, because I always “Get credit” for being active whether it’s being logged or not – it made me realize how defeatist I tend to be in thinking, “A few extra steps aren’t going to mean anything!” It’s nice to be reminded that all my tiny efforts do pay off! It’s also really interesting to see what day-to-day activities add up to – for example, cleaning my house while watching Scandal got me 4,000 steps over my daily goal without even trying. It also helps me strategize for long work days where I’m sitting in front of my computer for 12+ hours, and see what I have to make up for. Plus, it’s kind of fun, like a game – when I get to the end of the day and see how close I am to my goal, I know it’s time to get moving so I can hit my target!
As far as fitness tracking goes, the only real drawback is that it doesn’t differentiate activity: When I run, it counts towards my daily steps and active minutes, but it doesn’t track jogging stats specifically. It also is not totally water resistant, so you can’t wear it while swimming – but it is rain and sweat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined if it touches a little water. As far as I’m concerned, all I care about is total fitness and calories burned, so while specific stats on my jogs would be neat, it’s not a big deal; I also don’t go swimming much, so for my particular needs it works great.
Truth be told, although tracking my fitness was a big priority, I was most excited about the sleep tracking capabilities. One of my prerequisites for getting a fitness tracker this year was the ability to log sleep, since I have a lot of trouble sleeping and wanted to get a better picture overall of where I’m at. Fortunately for me, the sleep tracker on the Fitbit Charge is amazing!
You don’t have to do anything special to track your sleep on the Fitbit Charge, other than wear your band to bed. It automatically logs your total hours slept, and with astonishing accuracy: I can’t believe how spot on it is! The only other sleep tracker I’ve used was an app on an Android Device, and it was clumsy to use and not particularly accurate. By contrast, the Fitbit Charge does an amazingly precise job of logging my sleep, including hours awake during the night.
I love having this tangible picture of how much sleep I’m (not) getting, especially in light of all the other activity stats – when I have a day where there is only 3 hours of sleep but a lot of physical activity, it helps illustrate why I feel so lousy! Of course, I know all of this from my own experience, but it’s nice to have impartial data I can refer to, especially since our own estimates aren’t always so accurate.
There are a few other features of the Fitbit Charge I should point out:
- Sleek appearance: As a fashionista, it’s nice to have this sleek, unobtrusive black band that goes well with most of my outfits.
- Watch: The Fitbit Charge also does double duty as a watch, which is nice – I’ve gotten out of the habit of wearing a watch these days, since we all tend to look at our smartphones for the time instead, and yet I still instinctively look at my wrist when I’m wondering the time. It’s nice to have that again with my Fitbit!
- Caller ID: You can also use the Fitbit to view incoming calls from your smartphone. I haven’t used this feature myself because
I get pinged enough as it isahem, I just haven’t gotten to it. 😉
- Battery life: The Charge is designed to have a battery life of 7-10 days, and I certainly went quite some time before I even thought about charging it up the first time.
In all, the Fitbit Charge has met every need and become another “Cant-be-without” daily item. If you’d like to snag one for yourself, you can pick it up over at the AT&T Shop!