A flexible approach to activity tracking

A look at how the latest offering from Fitbit stacks up.

Medibank member Alex donned the Fitbit Flex, a wireless wristband device tracking activity by day and sleep by night, for two weeks. With an LED display lighting up to indicate progress and automatic data syncing, Flex aims to make boosting and tracking your activity levels simple and fun. Let’s see whether Alex found it a motivating way to achieve better health.

Have you ever used an activity tracker before?

No.

How did the flex wristband feel?

Comfortable and light – I loved how it had a ‘barely there’ feeling. It doesn’t interrupt during walks/runs/sleep. The only issue was the clip, which requires you to push the metal parts hard into your wrist.

How motivating was it to track your activity levels?

It keeps the 10,000 steps goal top of mind during different parts of the day, which was my expectation. In terms of maintaining that goal, it certainly encouraged me towards the end of the day to go that extra mile to reach it. It didn’t motivate me to go much further beyond that.

How did you find the wristband’s LED display?

It took a few days to work out how to use it (for sleeping/waking) but the five dots gave sufficient feedback to know where I was on my journey.

Was the battery life sufficient?

I loved the long battery life, it lasted about three to four days. Once I was caught out over the weekend as I didn’t realise it was nearly dead and had left the charger at work. I unfortunately missed out on three days of tracking. Everyone would love longer battery life though.

Did you use the iOS or Android Fitbit app to sync data?

Android – Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It took a little bit of fiddling to get it to work, but it magically happened without manual intervention so I appreciated that. I loved how I didn’t have to do anything manual to sync data.

Did you use any of the additional features?

I used sleep tracking, which was fantastic and great to get an indication of sleep duration, I would have loved more information beyond that though, i.e. sleep target, tips on how to ensure better sleep, a view on how deeply I was sleeping, motivation to sleep more. I also logged water intake – useful but I wasn’t motivated to keep filling it out after the first week.

How does Fitbit Flex help you achieve better health?

For a basic 10,000 steps/day goal, it’s perfect – I’d encourage my family to use it for that purpose as well. It has no appeal/impact/motivation for me to get out into the gym or to motivate myself against friends.

Any suggestions or tips for people thinking of tracking their activity with Fitbit Flex?

  • Ensure you understand that it’s best for reaching a daily goal for walking/movement (perfect for office workers)
  • Good for males and females as it is fairly discreet and fashionable
  • Good for people that have an Android/iOS phone
  • The wristband is water resistant, which is great if you’re a swimmer
  • Great for tracking but not so great for pushing you further (and I wasn’t able to find any other friends to compete against socially either)

For more information visit fitbit.com/au/flex

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