Chained To My Fitbit


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.