What is MyFitbit?

When children are growing up, they are at times scolded by their parents to go outside and play, rather than staying inside and watching the same show on television for hours on end. Also, people today have the ability to talk to their friends while playing a game on a console all day and night without leaving their house. However, technology developers are noticing this, so they have created a way for people to use technology as a way to push them to exercise and have a desire to live a long healthy life. A Fitbit is an example of one of these new technologies, and has recently become an enticing exercise accessory and application. The Fitbit can be used in a variety of ways, and has many reasons as to why it is seen as an innovator in the exercise and lifestyle markets.

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A Fitbit, which was created in 2007, is a fitness tracker that encourages people to exercise and attempt to attain a certain amount of footsteps per day in order to reach their “daily step goal” (usually about 10,000 steps). The Fitbit is worn around a person’s wrist like a bracelet, and usually has a digital face that would be able to show the ways a Fitbit can be used, such as counting the amount of steps walked, time, distance, calories burned, and flights of stairs walked up. These digital figures are able to be seen on the watch by either pressing a button on the side, or by raising the watch towards the users face (using motion detectors). This technology is able to track a person’s steps by using a 3-axis accelerometer to understand their motion. An accelerometer is a device that is able to turn movement into a digital measurement (data) when attached to the body. So, this accelerometer is designed to look for motion that most resembles walking in order to correctly display the amount of steps exerted (fitbit.com). The Fitbit is also looked at as an accessory, because there are many different colors that a user can attain such as black, blue, teal, and plum. Other than colors, there are trackers that have extra features such as tracking a person’s heart rate. Having a user know their heart rate shows them the speed of their heart as they are active or staying still. Heart rate is trackable because the PurePulse LED lights that the technology has is able to detect blood volume changes as a person’s capillaries expand and contrast (pulse) (fitbit.com). Ultimately, the Fitbit is not just a fitness tracker that only keeps track of steps.

Fitbit (Source)

When a person first buys the wearable Fitbit, they are asked to immediately download the Fitbit application (app) in an App Store. Once a person downloads that app, they are prompted to enter in the code they receive when they bought the Fitbit, make an account, and answer basic questions about themselves. These questions include asking about the user’s birthday, weight, height, and how much they usually exercise. Getting this information will help customize the app towards the individual in order for the user to achieve his or her health goals. Ultimately, the app plays a huge part in using a Fitbit, and it also connects and syncs with other fitness apps such as Myfitnesspal. This can be useful because Myfitnesspal focuses on accurately calculating the amount of calories eaten in a day, so when synced with Fitbit, it can show the amount of calories logged on Myfitnesspal on the Fitbit app. So, Fitbit has a way of getting differnet fitness apps consolidated onto one app.

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By using the Fitbit app, a user is able to track the amount of sleep achieved during the day and night. This can be used to allow people to learn about the amount of sleep they are actually getting, because it is very important to get enough sleep in order to be healthy. It can be questioned if a wearable piece of technology is able to accurately calculate how much sleep a person gets in a night, however, Fitbit uses a simple algorithm. The technology is able to auto-detect sleep based on a person’s movement. So, if a person does not move for a long period of time, then the Fitbit is able to confirm that they are sleeping (fitbit.com). Also, if movement is detected even though the person is still sleeping, it is logged that the person was “restless”. Additionally, if a person wakes up in the middle of the night, it will display that the person did in fact wake up, and it will show how much time the user was awake before/if they go back to sleep.

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Other than fulfilling individual needs, the Fitbit also allows users to engage in friendly competition with other Fitbit users. People are able to add friends on Fitbit in order to compete against them, and they can do it by giving each other their Facebook account (if they linked it up with Fitbit) or email address associated with Fitbit. When friend requests are confirmed on the app, the users are able to see how many steps their friends have throughout the week, and in turn, can serve as some motivation. If seeing a friend’s progress is not enough, within the app, there are “Challenges” that a user is able to challenge their friends list to. These challenges include “Goal Day” (reaching a step goal within the day), Weekend Warrior (taking the most steps on Saturday and Sunday), “Daily Showdown (taking the most steps in a day), and “Workweek Hustle” (taking the most steps from Monday through Friday). Other than doing challenges with friends, users are able to taunt, cheer, or message their friends. This can increase the communication of an exercise app, and gives the receiving user a notification of the action and they can either reply to the message or send a taunt or cheer back. Ultimately, Fitbit is showing that it is not just an app and accessory for exercise, but also a way to connect with friends.

MNN (Source)

Losing weight and living a healthy and active life can be difficult, however technology is trying to make it easier. Fitbit is innovative in a way that it did not just go into the wearable market, but it also went into the market for mobile apps. Since technology today is leaning towards being smartphone focused, Fitbit was able to take this trend and capitalize on it. Having an app for a fitness tracker allows people to have information on their health and fitness that they would not get from looking at their watch. Also, the technology within the item such as the accelerometer and PurePulse LED lights show the different types of information that is able to be received from a small wearable technology. Fitbit’s design and characteristics are also different than other activity tracker’s before them, and there is a reason for the success of the technology’s brand. In a way, wearing a Fitbit can be seen as an every-day accessory, something that not many exercise trackers were able to do previously. Wearing a Fitbit is like putting on a watch for the day, and it is easy to use which makes the product so popular (mobihealthnews.com). Realistically, a person never has to take their Fitbit off because it can track all their daily activity, and progress can be seen by opening an app or raising their wrist. Simply, the Fitbit is not just innovative in the technology itself, but also in the impact that it has on society.

Approximately ten years ago, elementary school teachers would tell their students to attach clip-on pedometers to themselves during recess and walk around to see how many steps they walked. A clip-on pedometer, which was patented in 1965, is a portable electronic device that counts the amount of steps a person walks by tracking their hand or hip movements (programering.com). Today, technology for exercise equipment is very different than it used to be and is much more accurate. Instead of just noticing hand or hip movements, which could be inaccurate if a person just shakes their hand with the clip-on pedometer in it, a Fitbit is able to notice the complete motion of walking for accurate data. Another major difference between the older pedometer and a Fitbit is the vast amount of information a Fitbit can track compared to the limited use of a clip-on pedometer. Clip-ons are usually limited to distance walked, steps, and calories burned, compared to a Fitbit that is able to track sleep and flights of stairs climbed as well. Also, a Fitbit is able to store a user’s activity data for 30 days, compared to the clip-on pedometer which does not usually keep track of past performance. Increased technology and interactivity is allowing Fitbit to thrive and highlights key differences compared to older clip-on pedometers.

The Fitbit is becoming a pioneer in fitness tracking technology and has innovative qualities that are driving people to buy and use it. This product is able to have many uses such as monitoring sleep, exercise, or dieting, so it is not limited to emphasizing one area of health. With many new technologies, there can be the question as to whether or not this technology is only a fad or if it is truly a technology that will stay for years.

 

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References:

D’Estries, M. (2015, January 27). I heart the fitbit charge HR, and here’s why. Retrieved from http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/i-heart-the-fitbit-charge-hr-and-heres-why

Fitbit. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/fitbit

Fitbit. (2016, April 20). Fitbit: how to set up a tracker on a mobile Device. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNbozxFz3oA

Fitbit. (2016, April 20). Fitbit: how to use sleep tools. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alKVYSIxGpw 

Fitbit. (2014, November 11). Find your fit – 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0qVi_nF6y8.

Fitbit Help. How do I track my sleep?. Retrieved from https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/Help_article/1314

Fitbit Help. How does my tracker count steps?. Retrieved from https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/Help_article/1143

Fitbit Help. What should I know about my heart rate data?. Retrieved from https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/Help_article/1565?p=charge_hr&l=en_US&fs=Search&pn=1#How

Fitbit Staff. (2015, January 6). Fitbit colors. Retrieved from https://blog.fitbit.com/charge-hr-and-surge-available-now-plus-new-charge-colors/

Programering. Pedometer. Retrieved from http://www.programering.com/a/MDNxUDMwATc.html

Wicklund, E. (2015, August 3). Advice to doctors: use Fitbit, or lose a link to patients. Mobihealthnews. Retrieved from http://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/advice-doctors-use-fitbit-or-lose-link-patients.

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