One thing I have come to love while working as a dietitian is all of the technology giving me more information about people in regards to what they eat, how they move, and how well they sleep.
A lot of times we believe we move more than we do, so these activity trackers have been great showing us the truth about our activity.
As the health care professional, I have noticed some things as this technology has grown more popular.
Accountability. It promotes more accountability for everyone. When you think you’ve been moving throughout your day and should be close to your goal of 10,000 steps, you may check your activity and only have hit 3,000 steps so far. Seeing a record of your actual movement through the day will provide valuable feedback to help achieve your activity goal.
Competition. We are very competitive by nature not only with other people, but ourselves. When we set a goal and see how close we are to it, we may work a little harder to hit it. It could trigger us to take the longer route to the restroom, park further away, or take the dog on a slightly longer walk than usual.
Earlier Bed Time. Sleep is extremely important for us to function well during the day and also improve our chances for weight loss. By monitoring sleep cycles, you may become more aware of your routines and try to improve on them. Knowing you aren’t sleeping well, you may try going to bed sooner, practice evening relaxation techniques, or take time winding down to prevent tossing and turning.
So I decided to try out the Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black for myself and see what the pros and cons were with these tracking products.
THE SET UP
While setting up a Fitbit account, I got confused between the tablet and the computer. They continued to direct me back to one another. So I ended up going to my phone and downloading the app which walked me through creating an account step by step.
Just to avoid confusion, I recommend setting up your account with the Fitbit app on your phone.
Once I got started with the app account setup, it was very easy and explained everything very simply.
The app software is really simple. It shows a home page with your progress on the front by tracking steps, mileage, calories burned, active minutes, and also lists options to track your exercise and weight, monitor your sleep, log your food/begin a food plan, and log fluids.
THE WRIST BAND AND TRACKER
The Fitbit Flex came with two different sized bands for wrist comfort. The bands are easily adjustable. Even though the snap is a little stiff at first it will loosen up once you’ve worn it a few times. This will make it easier to put on without assistance.
It is very light weight which I love since I am constantly on the go. I wear it on the same wrist as my watch and don’t even notice it.
The activity tracking is really neat because it tracks steps taken, mileage, as well as how many of those minutes were considered active. Another great thing about it is that I don’t have to swing my arm in order for it to catch all the steps. That is one thing I’ve always struggled with while wearing pedometers. My movements were never exaggerated enough to catch the step. With the Fitbit Flex, it does. Even grocery shopping with my hand on the cart.
However, I did have a junky cart at one point that vibrated terribly while I pushed it. This vibration continued to throw my Fitbit into sleep mode and out of sleep mode. In order to quickly put your Flex in sleep mode, three to four quick taps does the trick. So the vibrations must have been strong enough to replicate the taps.
Sleep tracking is beneficial because it shows you how often you get up and how restless you are through the night. I did not realize how much I toss and turn until I tracked my sleep.
Now I make a point to read or find ways to relax before bed. This has helped improve my sleep cycle. When you sleep more at night, you tend to lose more weight. The longer we are awake, the more your adrenaline kicks in, which leads to more hunger, and ultimately more snacking.
One more cool feature regarding sleep with this device is the silent alarm. I love this because if you are hearing impaired or sleep with a cranky partner, you can wake up to start your day without a disturbance to others. All you do is set your alarm through your app, and it will vibrate your wrist when it is time to wake up.
Because the flex does not have a screen and only flashes when you tap it, the batter lasts quite a long time. It lasted about 5 days without having to charge it. The great thing about long battery life is that you don’t have to worry about charging it all the time. It can also be a bad thing when you don’t think about it all that often because once I went a whole 12 hours before noticing my Flex was actually dead.
It comes with a little USB charger that you can plug into your computer. One problem I ran into was that if my laptop was in sleep mode, it would not charge.
So what I did was use my Iphone charger. The base of the Iphone charger uses USB which allows me to plug my Fitbit charger right into the wall. If completely dead, it’ll usually charge in about two to three hours. Then I’ll be good for another 5 days.
- It tracks basic movement (walking/running/hiking) in steps and mileage. If your goal is set high enough, you will have to do additional walking through your day to achieve your goal which creates exercise (or active minutes).
- It helps you understand if you’re sleeping well. This could encourage some to try relaxation techniques, get to bed earlier, or maybe have a sleep study done!
- The battery lasts such a long time. It is nothing like having to charge your phone nightly. We all want to avoid charging tons of devices on a daily basis.
- It is very small and lightweight. I really like being able to wear it next to my watch so it is out of the way.
- It is a device used for only running, walking, and hiking. Basically tracking the steps. So a lot of my exercises are not counted (weight lifting, stair climber, soccer games).
- The flex is the beginner wrist band for the line of wrist trackers for Fitbit. So it only tracks activity, sleep/silent alarm, and active minutes. They have more products that offer more functions, but for their basic wrist tracking model, that’s about all it tracks.
Overall, this little device has been a great addition to my daily life. I catch myself checking my progress throughout the day, which depending on how far I am from my goal, makes me push harder and stay moving.
If you are looking for a simple, easy-to-use, lower cost option for an activity tracker, the Fitbit Flex may be for you.
I hope this review has been helpful! Please feel free to share this post by using the social media icons below.