I’ve had my Fitbit Charge HR for about 3 months now, and I like to think that I’ve been rather disciplined with wearing it and syncing the data with my phone. It has in fact become a part of me, in some ways. The only time I take it off is when I’m in the shower, or when I’m at my desk, typing.
It hasn’t been particularly effective for me though… in terms of weight loss and improving my sleep cycles etc.
The Fitbit Charge HR measures quite a number of things, including heart rates, number of steps and amount of sleep. The app that comes along with it displays all these stats nicely in beautiful graphs, and allows you to keep track of your targets. If you hit your target for the day, you get awarded with a nice star or badges which are tagged to your profile. Whether or not they actually warrant bragging rights among your social circle, well..I’d say not so much for me 😛
To date I feel that the main function of the Fitbit Charge HR I like the most is the silent alarms. It can be set with up to 8 alarms, and it wakes you by vibrating on your wrist silently and doesn’t stop until you stop it with the press of the button on the side of the Fitbit. Heavy sleepers might not be woken up, but it works well for me. I use it to set reminders as well, to help me keep to a schedule –
620am – Time to get up for work
12nn – Write blogs during lunch
130pm – Time to head back to the office
8pm – (after work/dinner) Read healthcare articles
830pm – Jog till 930pm
10pm – Practise graphic design
11pm – Get ready to sleep
But I’m preeeetty sure that the Fitbit wasn’t designed for this purpose…
How can we use the Fitbit to achieve a healthier lifestyle then? Or how can we use any other wearable health trackers for this purpose, for that matter? Whether it is the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time Steel, Fitbit Alta, Samsung Gear or Garmin…Does collecting these health stats really help?
I guess it could definitely let you know of your “current state”. That’s a term we use in process improvement – we’ll have to study the current state of a process and be familiar with even the micro steps, before we worked on gap analysis and coming up with solutions to improve the process. Knowing your current state can be pretty powerful, cos then you’ll know where are the areas you can make changes to, to help you improve and forge a better “future state”.
The Fitbit does not just that but also helps you track your progress as you make those changes. Let’s say you’re walking maybe an average of 8000 steps a day at present. With the Fitbit, you could aim to walk 10000 steps every day – and monitor your weight as well at the same time to see if you’re making any progress weight wise.
That’s the theory in general, but how many of us would in fact make that change? For me, I’m already walking 10000 steps a day, does that mean I’ll have to up it? Of course weight management is multi-faceted and does not only depend on your activity levels… One thing’s for sure though, knowing your current state will not be able to effect any change, if no change is being implemented!
Health trackers wearers like me should probably use the data collected and see where in their lifestyle/habits they can change in order to achieve their health targets, instead of just wearing them and thinking that change will just miraculously happen on its own. (I know..I plead guilty :/) If you’re not hitting that 10000 steps a day, make an effort to up your activity level! If the app says you’re only active during certain hours of the day, set alarm reminders to make sure you hit your Hourly Activity targets! You can even set reminders on your phone to remind you that it is time to wind down and go to sleep.
Make that change, people!