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Fitness related articles.

Fitbit: No Healthkit = No Sale

I’ve been a big fan of fitbit. I had a One and later upgraded to the Force. I’ve put up with fairly lame software and fairly fragile hardware because I got something out of it. However, fitbit’s recent decision to not implement health kit for iOS will end up costing them future sales. Mine to name just one.

Fitbit’s decision was posted here. Elsewhere they basically said they didn’t want to implement something that was only of value to iOS users. I get that companies have limited resources and need to prioritize their efforts, but in this case turning away from iOS users is probably a mistake. I chose to remain with iOS, in part, because of new features like health kit and home kit that will integrate across products. Fitbit’s decision to remain a private information silo is shortsighted and limits their product’s usefulness to me. Enough so that when it is time for me to upgrade, fitbit won’t be on the radar.

Of course, there are other factors. My first fitbit force wouldn’t sync. The replacement worked properly until this week when it decided not to sync. The strap likes to pop open on its own with only the slightest brush against something.

We’ve directly bought five fitbits over the years for ourselves and as gifts and probably been responsible for several other sales.  The newly announced Surge looks interesting but if it doesn’t fully support  the environment I use then I don’t see the point.

A Few Days With Fitbit

Lauri and I picked up a couple of Fitbit One’s to help with our fitness efforts. For those that don’t know, the Fitbit One is a small pedometer that you wear on your body and it tracks all your steps. It also tracks the number of floors climbed. It gives you an estimate of calorie burn throughout the day based on your activity. Combined with food tracking it can help you manage your food consumption relative to your exercise a bit more easily. It can also give you a sense of how active you are and how much you move around. You can also wear it while you sleep to get an estimate of when you are asleep vs. awake.

Over the last few days I’ve worn it continually during the day. It’s so unobtrusive I forget I have it on. It silently monitors my steps though it will show them to me on demand. When I come in range of my computer or run the iOS app it sends over the current information to my fitbit.com account.

It’s been fascinating seeing when I move around. As a programmer I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle so I’m trying to make sure I get enough exercise. Fitbit “rewards” me with virtual badges for achieving activity levels throughout the day. That’s cute and might help some people but I’m motivated by data. Seeing how much I’ve moved and how many calories I’ve burned really helps motivate me to keep moving.

It seems fairly accurate. The floor counting sometimes misses and sometimes give me credit I don’t deserve but it seems to average out. The number of floors may not match the physical number of flights of stairs climbed since Fitbit defines a “floor” as a 10 foot elevation change. This means that I got credit for 11 “floors” during a walk that had enough small ups and downs to account for 110 feet of elevation gain over the course of the walk. This seemed high to me but matched what an iOS walk tracking app said within a few feet. If it is wrong it at least matched the result from a totally different method so they are consistent.

I’ve used it to track sleep a couple of times. The velcro wrist band you sleep the Fitbit into seemed like it would annoy me but I was totally unaware of it after a few minutes. It’s idea of when I was awake pretty much tracked what I remember though there was one definite false negative where it said I was asleep but I know I was awake. I haven’t fiddled with the sensitivity setting for sleep yet but that might rectify that. According to Fitbit I’m sleeping with 95-100% efficiency, falling asleep within 10 minutes and sleeping throughout the night with only a few points where I wake up.

The website is fairly basic but you can integrate with other services like Withings, Lose It! and MyFitnessPal and others. People doing food tracking may find MyFitnessPal a better choice to log food since they are reputed to have a better database than Fitibit. With connected devices like Fitbit and Withings you can remove the need to log weight or most exercise leaving only food to be accounted for. This minimizes the amount of data entry needed so should help minimize the drudgery.

In five days I’ve taken 32,000 steps and climbed 74 “floors” for a total of 14.1 miles. That puts me in the middle of the pack of my four Fitbit friends. Have to see if I can move up to second place!

C25K: Week 2 Run 2

Starting to get back on track with the runs. The shoulder is holding up without complaint.

Reboot C25K: Week 1 Run 1

After five months off dealing with a frozen shoulder I was finally able to start running again. I was advised to ease into it so I decided to start back at the beginning. The results were a bit faster than my original week 1 runs though not dramatically so. More importantly, my shoulder was a tiny bit sore the next morning but nothing dramatic. I’ll keep icing it down to combat inflammation and keep doing my workouts and stretches but hopefully I won’t be headed back to physical therapy.

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