Today is my birthday. I am not sharing this to get birthday greetings (although appreciated), but to tell you about a very cool early birthday present I received from my good friends Lorraine and David. They gave me a Fitbit Flex.
I have been a fan of pedometers since I started Camera Walking four years ago, but this great piece of technology steps up my game. It has so many features. It measures your steps, distance and calories burned. It allows you to set goals, and monitors your sleep patterns (yes that is very interesting to see). And it has an alarm function. It also syncs wirelessly to your PC or Mac as well as with your phones and other devices via blue tooth. There are several options to choose from, including ones that clip to your waistband, like a traditional pedometer, but I love this one because it is so accessible.
The first question I had was how accurate it is, so the other day I went out on a long walk with my WeightWatchers’ pedometer clipped on my waist, MapMyWalk active on my phone in my pocket, and my Fitbit Flex on my wrist. About two-thirds of the way through the walk my Flex started vibrating and lights flashing because I had achieved my 10,000 step goal! Now that is cool!
The Flex measures both your active steps as well as your daily steps, so I was able to compare the results with my other devices. Actually my WeightWatchers’ pedometer and my Fitbit Flex were about the same. In terms of distance, MapMyWalk showed that I had walked farther than the other two.
When I go Camera Walking, I wear my BlackRapid camera strap across my body and my camera hangs close to my right hip. I usually keep my hand close to the camera to stabilize it, so I wondered if the Flex could accurately know that I was walking if my hand was not moving much, and it does! It was enough to convince me that the Fitbit is very accurate.
One of the great added benefits is the encouragement and rewards you receive. When I am close, but not at my goal, I get a message on my phone saying “keep it up, only 2,700 steps to your goal.” When I exceed my goal I get another saying, “overachiever, you have exceeded your goal by 2,500 steps.” And the big plus are the badges. Here is one that I received one week after I started wearing the Fitbit Flex.
Really, I walked 50 miles! I hadn’t realized how much I walked until now. When I walked only with my WeightWatchers’ pedometer I tracked just my active miles, so I was missing out on the extra steps I was taking. Knowing how many steps I take has encouraged me to get out and add more. When I open the dashboard on my computer I not only get good information but added encouragement (see the happy smiling face).
The badges are like the “gold stars” we used to get in grade school. Who doesn’t like getting recognition and encouragement?
We all know that we need to move more and walking is one of the best ways to do that. According to Slate.com, “the average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day, the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, while the average American takes only 5,117 steps per day,” so we can all improve.
There are many good trackers available. I still like my WeightWatchers’ pedometer, but I am going to give it a rest for a bit. It has served me well over the last four years. The Fitbit Flex not only works for my lifestyle, but it obviously works for others, as it has been voted the #1 Bestseller in Pedometers on Amazon.
Let us know what you use and what works for you by commenting below, posting on our Facebook page, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Regardless of what technology you use, grab your camera and go out Camera Walking to achieve better health, fitness, and creativity.