How Fitbit gets you moving
Medibank and Fitbit have teamed up to help Australians track their activity. We check in to see how four members have found the experience.
Why did you want a Fitbit?
Nic, 29, Brisbane: They’re all the rage at the moment and I wanted to see if they were any good. I use my phone and a Garmin wrist GPS tracker for cycling, running and open water swimming, and a light 'all-rounder' was attractive too.
Emilie, 26, Adelaide: I had been looking for a new, cost-effective way to track my activities and exercise. For quite some time, I've been using various apps on my iPhone to track activities such as running or hiking, but as they run on GPS they have had some issues.
Megan, 31, Townsville: I recently became a mother again for the third time so I wanted something to keep me motivated, and I thought having a Fitbit would do that, as it keeps track of my everyday movements and exercise and food/water intake. It’s a great little all-in-one tool.
Patrice, 28, Yarrawarrah: I loved hearing about friends tracking their steps and sleeping habits and wanted to see how much I actually do in day-to-day life.
What features do you like about the Fitbit?
Nic: It looks good on and wears comfortably enough that you can forget you are wearing it – and it isn't as bulky as some other tracking devices. Being able to sync over Bluetooth with your phone is a great feature.
Emilie: I like the fact that it can be integrated with so many other tracking and fitness apps, such as RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. The comprehensive data tracking is really interesting and provides a much bigger and more accurate picture when it comes to exercise and food. I do hope that they will include a wider range of exercises and activities into future updates, as many bodyweight and weightlifting movements aren't represented.
Megan: My favourite feature would be the step tracker. I also find it really interesting to see how many steps I take on my busy days, and on the weekends when we have our down time it helps keep me moving as I find I’m always checking it to see how I’m doing for the day.
Patrice: I love the sleep tracker and how it tells you how much awake time you had and how much of your sleep was restless.
What Fitbit data have your found interesting or useful?
Nic: 4,000-plus step count from doing a 45-minute BodyStep gym class. It’s also handy having the activity graph showing which hours of the day you are most active or inactive.
Emilie: I'm really interested in the sleep tracking data and calories burnt data. I've used apps before that monitor sleeping, but this way I don't need to worry about knocking my phone off my bed. While I know the calories burnt data is estimated by my height and bodyweight, I've never used an app that approximates this data in real time.
Megan: I really love that I get weekly email updates from Fitbit telling me how I went for the week and what was my best and worst day. They also email you when you hit little achievements like when you have walked 250 km, which I got the other day. It’s the little things like that, that help keep you on track, feeling like you have achieved something.
Patrice: Both the steps and calories burnt are interesting. I had no idea how much I actually do walk, especially when working and at home with my baby. It surprised me that even on days when I don't get time for exercise, sometimes I still make the recommended 10,000 steps.
What has been your best day so far?
Nic: 15,192 steps, 126 active minutes, 3,273 calories, 11.45 km.
Emilie: The first day I used it, I couldn't stop checking my steps on the app because it fascinated me how much I was actually walking around in a day. I managed almost 12,000 steps that day and hit all my goal targets (except I may have gone a little bit heavy on chocolate consumption!)
Megan: Today was my best day so far, hitting 13,000-plus steps. I seem to be getting better and better as the days pass as I'm trying to beat the day before.
Patrice: I recently completed the Sutherland2Surf (11 km) so that day I made 20,282 steps, which I was excited about!
Has the Fitbit changed your activity levels?
Nic: Not as yet as I’m already very active, however it is making me more aware of my activity levels on training days and rest days. I can see how they would boost people to be competitive in how many steps they could take each day, promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Emilie: It's hard to say just yet, I'm a very active person already. I really enjoy running and CrossFit and I go to the gym six days a week, but I do find myself walking around more since I've started using it. Even if it's just an extra trip to the work kitchen to get a glass of water, every step counts towards that 10,000 step daily goal!
Megan: Yes for sure. It really keeps me focused on my goal – to lose this baby weight. I have recently started a walking group with the mothers from my son's school. Now we park a distance from school and walk to and from, which I love tracking with my Fitbit. Doing this in the mornings and afternoons has added an extra 5000 steps to my day.
Patrice: Yes, I check it a few times a day to see where I'm at and how much more I need to achieve my goals. Lucky for my dog he gets a good walk in if I'm low on steps!