My computer’s in my purse,” I tell my friend as we stroll around Manhattan. “It has an app that will tell us how far we’ve walked.”
“I have something better,” she answers. “I’m wearing a Fitbit.”
I have no idea what she’s talking about, but we’re about to cross Fifth Avenue and getting to the other side safely becomes a priority. This distraction is enough to make me forget to find out what a Fitbit is, or more importantly what it does.
A few months later she sent me an e-mail from her home in Chicago, asking if I’d like hers.
“It’s causing havoc with my new Apple watch,” she wrote. “Seems I can’t wear both.”
Since I love anything free, I tell her how much I’d love her Fitbit, but never let on to my ignorance nor do I find time to check it out on the Internet. It arrives a few days later. The gizmo itself is nestled in the middle of two black and three neon-bright rubbery bands and is called The Tracker. It’s about two inches long and slides into the band you choose to wear that day.
I thank her profusely and ask her to send directions.
“They’re online,” she responds.
The Fitbit sits on my desk for a month. The reason for my procrastination is that I suspect it will be technically challenging to learn to operate. It’s not. The three-step directions are simplistic and I learn what it can and cannot do. She’d paid extra for the colorful bands.
There are five Fitbit trackers to choose from. Mine is the basic model, The Flex. It will tell me how many steps I take and which of those are active minutes, (climbing stairs or walking uphill), how many minutes this takes, the calories I burn and if I choose, my sleep patterns, food intake and weekly progress. All of this can be seen at a glance by looking at The Fitbit app on my iPhone. In addition to what mine does, those in the higher price range will tell you the number of floors climbed, the time, (as in wristwatch time), your running stats, your heart rate and has caller ID. The top model allows you to text and has music controls, which make it sound more like a “Super Watch” than a modern-day pedometer. All are water resistant, and cannot be worn in the shower.
I need to recharge mine about once a week, (takes about an hour), which is easy if I’m near a computer. It’s synced with my iPhone, so I’m reminded when the battery is low.
When I first started wearing my Fitbit I thought about how easy it would be to meet their daily goal of 10,000 steps. It’s not. The first time I did, though, I was rewarded by blinking lights and a gentle tingle on my wrist. I also overestimated the number of calories I burn throughout the day.
I have one problem — attaching it to my wrist. Two prongs need to fit into two matching slots, which would be easy if I had three hands. Sometimes this takes a few minutes. I called customer service for advice and was assured that as I continue to use it, the little holes will stretch to make it easier.
I couldn’t be happier with my Fitbit, and no, I don’t lust for the higher models. This one does just what I want it to do — no more, no less.