I’m a FitBit Fan

As a person who appreciates tech, I’m generally slow and methodical when it comes to new stuff.

And getting a FitBit was no different.

I picked out a FitBit Charge HR.

Why: I’ve had heart rate monitors and love that they calculate caloric burn regardless of whether your performing cardio or not. I saw a lot of popular press and reviews. The price was certainly reasonable. And I met a few people who had them and showed me how they work.

I bought mine early April of 2015. Set up was simple using a Windows laptop and my Android smart phone. Just followed the directions.

Rather than dwell on the entire range of FitBit features, I decided to focus on what I use most with the FitBit Charge HR.

Steps, heart rate, calories burned, tracking exercise, sleep and the silent alarm are the features I make use of the most.

Steps are tracked through the FitBit’s motion sensors and I’m not convinced its perfectly accurate, but is a great indicator of just how active I am. Exceed 10,000 steps and you get a vibration and a flashing acknowledgement of an achievement.

Heart rate is something I really appreciate. Heart rate is tracked constantly and the app provides a graph of your resting heart rate. I’ve found that to be an incredible indicator. The higher your resting rate, the more your heart is working when your not active. I’m not a doctor or in the medical field, but it makes sense that if your resting rate is in it’s lower range for you, then your more relaxed. When I look back historically, my resting rate was in the 70’s daily. Lifestyle changes and workout improvements have brought my heart  resting rate down as low as the mid-50’s.

Calories burned runs constantly, incrementing your caloric burn rate whether your sedentary or moving mountains. I was surprised to see that some stressful days at my office work can actually burn a few extra calories. It was also an eye opener to realize just how sedentary I was for the most part when I first got it.

Tracking exercise with some form of accuracy was always elusive before the FitBit. Now, simply press the button, it vibrates and a stopwatch appears indicating it’s now tracking your exercise. When you finish your workout, you press the button again, it vibrates and a finish flag appears. During that interval, your caloric burn is captured as exercise. When it uploads to your app, it tracks in a calendar. I use the calendar as a tracker of the days I’ve worked out and how much.

Sleep was a surprising feature I never really thought of before I bought it. When I started using the FitBit in April, it indicated I was having lots of waking periods and restlessness with maybe 6 hours of sleep on average. I can vouch for the belief that I didn’t feel that rested during that period of time.  Since that time, with the changes I’ve made, I’m averaging more than seven hours of sleep a night with no more than one wakeful period and a lot less restlessness through the night. I believe this is a solid indicator of improvement overall. That and it just feels better.

One of the life changes I’ve made is developing a solid regimen for exercise. But to do that I need a definitive and dedicated time frame to work out with little chance for interruption. That’s where the silent alarm works out. I set mine to go off early enough in the morning to allow me to work out and still get on with my day. I’ve gotten absolutely no complaints from my spouse, except when I stumble around.

It does work as a time piece. When I first bought it, the way to get the time was pressing the button briefly or double tapping the display screen. However there was a software upgrade recently that allows me to twist my arm into a “looking at my watch position” and it will display the time and date.

Day to day operations have been easy to work with. I wear it all the time except showering or swimming. That includes sleeping. When I shower or swim I plug it in to charge.

For battery consumption, I adjusted the settings in my FitBit to not continuously synchronize and that has slowed the power drain. I believe that would give me around four days, based on what I see out of a single days drain. But since I’m a regular charger anyway, power has never been a problem.

Funny thing at night, once in a while I catch the green glow of the LED’s that monitor my heart rate. Mostly when I’m moving around. It’s so fleeting it’s not a bother.

Between the simplicity of use, the mild reminders of its presence, the quality of information it provides constantly has been an incredible reminder and motivator.

Would I recommend a FitBit Charge HR? Definitely for anyone interested in their overall health.

Author: 21Buzzards

Mid-life retired reservist in the corporate IT world parenting a grandchild. Sharing my evolution as age and priorities impact life.

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