DMA PRODUCT REVIEW: Taking the Fitbit Challenge

By Phill Powell

Here at DMA, we believe in physical fitness. That’s why our students always get regularly scheduled recreation breaks during their camp day at Digital Media Academy. But we also believe in fitness for everybody, and that’s why, as a company, we’re taking the Fitbit challenge.

fitbit_sensor
The Fitbit’s sensor pops out of the wristlet when you need to recharge it via an USB port.

Our corporate staff has been split into teams, with each participant trying to score at least 10,000 steps a day – the amount of walking the American Heart Association recommends for healthy living.

Everyone’s received their Fitbit Flex™ wristband activity tracking devices, and we’ve all got a personalized dashboard (on smartphones, tablets or laptops) that synchs with the wristband-based sensor to record our daily activity.

Day 1: Fitbit Activity Log

On the first day I go out and take my usual daily walk, then add an extra heaping portion of steps on top of that. Throughout, I try to remember to swing my arms when I walk. (Otherwise, the Fitbit can penalize you and not record those steps.) When I return home, I’m sure I’ve come near the 10,000-step benchmark.

Imagine my surprise when the device synchs with the app on my laptop and I discover I’ve only walked about 6,500 steps!

Determined to reach the goal, I go out later to a local shopping mall, one with lots of long straightaways that really give you a chance to stretch your legs. I walk the length of the mall several times, with side trips into various stores. It feels like a good little bit of exercise. Now I’m certain that I’ve walked the allotted number of steps.

Back home, the shocking truth: only 8,403 steps.

fitbit_dashboard
Track star: The Fitbit dashboard is always tracking where you’re at on that day’s fitness goal.

So again, back out I go, this time to a mega-sized grocery store where I walk when the weather’s bad. I twice pace the full run of the store and have started a third loop, when it finally happens.

The Fitbit starts vibrating. Its small series of five bright lights begins flashing and it makes some tiny chirps of approval.

I made the goal! The Fitbit was now crediting me with hitting 10,000 steps!

For this day – if only this day – I had made my goal.

sneakers_badge_fitbit
Fitbit is nice about sending congratulatory messages, which encourages you to keep up the good work.

STEPS MOVING FORWARD

There’s still much I have to learn about using the Fitbit. Like how to use its sleep analysis functions, where it keeps track of how much you toss and turn at night and helps you estimate how much actual rest you’re getting.

It also can be used effectively as part of a weight-loss strategy. With this tracking tool, you first enter your current and desired weights and how much time you would like the weight loss to take. Then the software tells you how much fitness you’re going to need to achieve your goal.

Different models of Fitbit devices offer extra functionality and actual screens that display many types of personal-activity data.

THE PLACE FOR TECH

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