Currently number one in the App Store, Fitbit is taking over the world. More and more people are buying into the Fitbit watch, and soon enough everyone will have the futuristic band clung to their wrist.
This tiny bit of tech tracks every part of your day – not only when you hit the gym, but even your speeding down the stairs to catch a housemate stealing your milk. The watch helps you stay motivated by tracking even the tiniest things, providing evidence that even small steps can make a massive impact on your health and fitness.
Fitbit have created a selection of products to suit every lifestyle and every budget. From the basic Zip (£49.99) that clips easily to clothing, tracking steps, distance and calories, to the Surge (£199.99), advertised as a “fitness super watch” that combines automatic GPS tracking with a continual ‘PurePulse’ heart rate monitor, multisport modes and accurate sleep tracking to provide the best record of your ‘new year, new me’ progress.
If you’re not the type of person who gets motivated by flimsy salad leaves and cucumber sandwiches then this could be a great start for get-fit inspiration. By providing your height, weight and age into the Fitbit App connecting the watch to your smartphone, it accurately calculates calories burnt, steps taken, distance travelled, and floors climbed using a three-axis accelerometer (a device that detects movement of a body and turns it into data), special algorithms and thresholds designed to look for patterns suggestive of walking, and your basal metabolic rate (BMR): the rate at which you burn calories. These measurements are then analysed in any way you move, making readings more precise than single-axis pedometers.
The small monitor on the underside of the watch tracks an accurate reading of your heart rate. Knowing this during exercise helps make the most out of your workouts, and the graphs and charts accessible through the app will help you obtain optimal health: analysis of your heart rate over time can identify trends and manage stress, as well as tracking your resting heart rate to see how your health is improving. Fitbit uses ‘Smart Track’ technology to automatically recognise when you exercise, and records it in the app store.
Experts say adult females should take in around 2000 calories per day, while men sit at about 2500. A brief walk as a revision break last week told me I burnt 16 calories in 16 minutes. Was it really worth it? Probably not. However, waking up to find the watch telling me I’d burnt 500 calories – a quarter of my daily goal – before I’d even got out of bed made me feel a lot better. It also tracks your sleep by using your heart rate to calculate how long you slept for, restlessness and awake periods. By recording this over time and setting targets, this piece of technology could be your vital ingredient for a healthy sleeping pattern.
Finally, the in-app calorie counter estimates and compares, using a database of foods, what you’ve eaten versus what you’ve burnt that day – trackable again in charts over time, to visibly see your progress as an incentive to stay healthy. Fitbit tracks all of this information – just by the watch on your arm, and is available instantly simply by tapping the screen. Great for immediate motivation all day (or year) long.