How My Fitbit Actually Improved My Fitness

I am obsessed with finding objective measures for tracking and monitoring health focused programs. Basically, I don’t want to invest any time or effort unless I have a way to ensure (or measure) that the time & effort is leading me towards my goals.

I was first drawn to an activity tracker when I saw a release for an Apple watch. As with most Apple products, the advertisement and website had me hooked. It was so beautiful, and had some great features too. But as always, I meticulously went through reviews and compared alternative products before committing to the purchase.

Following hours of scouring reviews, I decided to buy a Fitbit Charge HR through Amazon.

Results

The Fitbit has remained a constant fixture on my wrist for over 6 months now. I have worn it so much that it’s falling apart a little (which might be a negative aspect of this review).

It quietly satisfied my desire to have data on every activity. The step tracking, sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring have become my most useful self measures to ensure that I am not too sedentary for too long.

Resting Heart Rate

December

Photo 2-06-2016, 3 50 02 PM

January

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February

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March

Photo 2-06-2016, 3 50 12 PM

April

Photo 2-06-2016, 3 50 26 PM

May

Photo 2-06-2016, 3 50 29 PM

Steps

Fitbit Steps

Implications

The Framingham Study – a 20 year long observational study involving over 1000 participants – “demonstrated that individuals with a higher heart rate have an excess risk of cardiovascular events and mortality.”

Therefore, my data taken from the Fitbit tracking software has connected the dots between an increased daily step count and a reduction in resting heart rate.

Additionally, just by creating a feedback loop whereby I can be held accountable for regular movement, I can reduce my relative risk of cardiovascular episode later in life.

Limitations

Of course, there are some areas of limitation with the data collection & Fitbit Charge HR

Cost: Some people will find the price point too high. Although there are cheaper alternatives you may have to compromise on some of the most beneficial features (such as all day Heart Rate).

Data Accuracy: It’s difficult to confirm exactly how accurate the data is. I don’t believe it is a huge issue though. We’re not looking to publish any research articles with this technology, it’s a feedback mechanism and as such any discrepancies aren’t a huge issue in my mind.

Hard Work: Many people won’t struggle with wearing the watch, but the watch doesn’t do the hard work for you. It just helps you track the benefits. It’s up to the individual to find ways to increase their own physical activity levels in a safe and well thought out manner (I recommend finding an Exercise Physiologist if you’re struggling with this part) 

Conclusion

Wearable technology is a terrific example of how we can harness the tech advancements to improve individual and societal health care. Although technology like the Fitbit involves a financial investment, if properly utilised it can encourage a huge improvement in physical activity levels and eventually result in improved overall health.

Do your due diligence to identify the best tool for yourself, create some objective health goals and take the small steps to achieving those goals. There are no shortcuts when it comes to reducing your resting heart rate, just put your head down and move!

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