Chained To My Fitbit

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It looks a bit like I’m under house arrest and am required to wear an electronic monitoring device.  A one inch band of synthetic material wrapped around my non-dominant wrist, topped with a large rectangular watch face. A few weeks ago, my firm started reimbursing everyone $100 for the cost of a Fitbit, as long as you promised to participate in one unspecified company “challenge” in a year and generally to be a healthy person. It was unclear exactly how the latter was to be implemented, but given the difficulty of enforcement, the risk of breach didn’t seem too great, and the lure of $100 quite strong.

So now a considerable number of attorneys and staff alike at my office are roaming the hallways, eyes on their devices, exchanging updates on their latest step counts. You can’t tell if they actually have a destination in mind, or are just adding to their steps.  I’ll be curious to see what the correlation is between increased steps and billable hours.

As for me, I couldn’t resist splurging on the Surge. It is the top level Fitbit, and not only counts steps and floors, but also monitors heart rate, your sleep cycle, and tracks exercise, ranging from running (it has a GPS tracker) to yoga. I tried the running tracker yesterday for a four mile run and compared it to Map My Walk – they were almost identical, so it seems the accuracy is pretty good. I also loved the fact I didn’t have to run with my phone in hand as I could glance down at any point and see my pace, time and distance.

I’m about to try the Fitbit at yoga – we’ll see. I’m not quite sure what it’s going to track. Number of sun salutations? Downward dogs?

I also wore it climbing stairs  the other day.  Every 25 floors or so I got a cheery email from the Fitbit people awarding me a new badge. At 125 floors I received the Roller Coaster. I climbed 140, so I’m guessing I need to do 150 to see what comes next. Maybe the Big Eye?

I’ve found the Fitbit at night is a little distracting. As a restless sleeper, I have woken a couple of times with the imprint of the buckle mashed into my wrist and have had to change arms. But it’s still interesting in the morning to have information like “moved 11 times” in a two hour period.

The strangest thing about my electronic bracelet is at all times to have access to information about my own body that was previously the province only of my body and not in any way the business of my brain. But now those mysteries are revealed. You can check at any given time just exactly what makes your heart beat a little stronger. Who know the effect on the dating industry.

Narcissism? Helpful for training? Increasing the scientific understanding of your own body? Maybe a little of all the above. But, as I try to figure out the next mountain summit, I figure I can use all the help I can get.

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7 thoughts on “Chained To My Fitbit

  1. pscapp August 9, 2015 / 12:25 pm

    Seems a little creepy especially if your info gets swiped. Really, you wear it when you are sleeping? I suppose it’s a good thing in the long run but sometimes the cold, hard facts aren’t enough when faced with your experience and intuition. If I had one I definitely would ditch it when I was sleeping.

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    • mhoustonfl August 9, 2015 / 2:56 pm

      There is sort of a big brother like aspect – but I guess in the long run I don’t think anyone would be interested enough in my paltry statistics to go to the effort! The jury is still out on sleeping with it on…

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      • pscapp August 9, 2015 / 3:57 pm

        Yeah, but it knows where you are or where you were just like those devices that insurance companies want to put in your car to monitor your driving habits. It’s bad enough that my cell phone broadcasts my whereabouts. I run and work out by gut feel but I can see where some people need absolute statistics to track their progress.

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  2. Quan August 9, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    I’d like to see, too, how it works for yoga… on the other hand, I would actually find useful information for logging sleep. I think we all sleep less than we should… or that our sleep is not as good as it should be… give us an update!

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    • mhoustonfl August 9, 2015 / 2:57 pm

      I will; I had used the app Sleep Cycle on my phone for quite a while – bit that requires keeping your phone in bed with you! The real problem is the bulkiness of the watch face at night.

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  3. Sue Moore August 9, 2015 / 3:26 pm

    Just recovering from a broken foot after almost 5 months of being off my feet. So I am grateful to resume activity this week and boy did I miss my Fitbit!!!

    I know I will be disappointed in my initial performance. However, I look forward to making progress. This little piece of technology is at times is a personal compass:)

    I may have to upgrade mine shortly… And I am looking forward to that investment in my own health😉

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