I started the year (as I do most years) on a bit of a health kick and as part of my motivation this year I signed up for the Move More, Eat Well 2.0 class at Big Picture Scrapbooking. (I'm guessing it sounds weird to take an online scrapbooking class to be healthier but I'm hoping combining my health and fitness goals with a favourite hobby will provide inspiration and motivation!).
The class has active message boards and as I was reading messages from all over the world I kept seeing mention of "FitBit". I had no idea what it was to begin with but a few people explained it (a wireless sleep and activity tracker which syncs with your phone via bluetooth) and so I decided to do a bit of research to find out more and see if it was available in New Zealand.
The great news is that it is! And even better I was lucky enough to be sent a a FitBit for review purposes :-)
The FitBit One arrived in a cute little box...
The FitBit One is the bit in the middle at the top. Also in the box (hidden away) were a USB to FitBit cable for charging and linking up, a wrist strap to use for monitoring your sleep and a silicon cover and clip for wearing your FitBit during the day.
Setting up an account and linking up my FitBit was easy. The FitBit website has a great help section which answers every question possible!
It was also easy to access simple data via the FitBit itself and more detailed information via the iPhone app and on my laptop online.
It was great to get started and track my sleep and activity.
I was quite disheartened by my lack of steps and activity on some days but checking my progress during the day was definitely a motivation for parking the car a little further from the shops and running up and down the stairs if there was something needing to be taken down (rather than leaving it at the top until next time I was on my way out).
The display is easy to read and shows steps, flights of stairs climbed, distance and calories burned. It also displays the time which was rather handy for someone like me who doesn't wear a watch!
And I loved watching the little flower grow as the day went on and I clocked up more steps and stairs :-)
Here it is below tucked inside the wrist strap. This is how you wear it at night to monitor your sleep activity. You set a timer when you go to sleep and stop it when you wake up. As well as tracking the length of time you've been in bed it also shows you a little graph on the website of how restful/active you were while asleep.
Sidenote: during the day I usually wore the FitBit on my bra strap - easy to check quickly but very discreet and most people wouldn't even know it was there!
Another motivating aspect was the badges you can collect - when I synced up I would sometimes be emailed a badge I had achieved such as "walked 50km" and "climbed 10 flights of stairs in 1 day". You can see all these badges when you log in on your profile/dashboard on the FitBit website.
I was rather chuffed on the days I reached 10,000 steps or more (every day we were in Auckland last week because we were walking so much!).
The only downsides to the FitBit were of my own making. I was really keen to wear it for AMI Round the Bays on the 16th February but I hadn't worn it to sleep the night before and we were in such a rush heading out that morning organising our race numbers and timing chips that I completely forgot it (resulting in a few swear words when we reached town and I realised I'd forgotten!) The good thing is I ended up walking over 7km's in Auckland so I got to know how many steps that got me anyway!
The other downside was when it run out of charge. The charge on it is AMAZING (it lasted well over a week at a time between charges) - and the only reason it ran out was because I didn't think to pack the cable to take to Auckland to charge it.
The way I would get round this in future is making a habit of charging it at the same time each week.
All in all this is a great product which I have found to be very motivating for my health and fitness levels. On the most part I would say my activity levels are up since I've been wearing it and I've found it fantastic to not only be monitoring steps but also distance, flights of stairs and sleep patterns!
I would recommend the FitBit One to anyone keen to monitor and improve their sleep and activity levels.
The Fitbit One is available from Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman, JB Hifi, Rebel Sport and at Fitbit.com/nz. It retails at $159.95(NZ).
There are other FitBit products available as well so head over to the website to find out more!