The second app I’m speaking about really is more a tool and an app, it’s fitbit and their associated application and website. I currently own a charge 2, have previously owned a charge HR, one, and a zip. This has been over a number of years, since 2011 also, and at one point I kept accidentally washing them!
The fitbit’s first and foremost capability is that of a pedometer, for the charge 2 you wear it on your wrist and it tracks your steps. On top of that it also tracks stairs climbed (although I find this pretty inaccurate, especially on windy days), active minutes (where you are moving more than just a gentle walk) and it prompts you to do 250 steps per hour to remain active throughout the day.
There are two different dashboards depending on whether you are using the mobile app or the website, however they both show the same information. The website dashboard is completely customisable, you can drag around tiles to order the information you want to see, or remove and add things as you like.
Additionally, the charge 2 also tracks your heart rate using a little sensor which is against your upper wrist. This keeps track of your resting heart rate, and exercise heart rate. When you are completing exercise that is more than walking, you can set it into exercise mode. There are a number of modes for different types, for example run allows the charge to use your phones gps to track where your run was, there is also elliptical, treadmill, weights etc, that are better set up as opposed to the standard fitbit measurements.
The charge 2 also tracks your sleep, it can sense when you have went to sleep, when you move around, and when you wake up. You set the time goals for this but this is a great feature. You can see your sleep on a weekly basis and also look at individual nights.
The integration with my fitness pal is very good as well, your steps are passed over as are your calories burned, although I do find these on the high side. These are added to your diary as a fitbit adjustment, you can also allow negative adjustments so if you’ve had a day you’ve not moved from the couch then fitbit will take away calories.
I actually really like my fitbit and do find that it motivates me to walk more, I park further away from shops, walk to them rather than drive, if I’m close to my active hourly goal I will get up and walk around just to hit it. I like tracking my sleep, as I get up so early I find I often struggle with getting “enough” sleep, but have found with time and monitoring that I function perfectly well on less than the recommended 8 hours, in fact I can’t remember the last time I got anywhere near that, 6 and a half to seven is sufficient for me, but without the long term tracking I may have worried about this more.
You can add friends to your fitbit friends list, then you can participate in challenges, these could be the workweek challenge, or weekend challenges, or just one day challenges. These are good for motivation, they also added other challenges that take you on a journey through other places, seeing landmarks, having to walk a certain distance. I’ve only tried one of these and it was interesting, but not necessary.
The charge 2 charges by connecting it to a USB cable with special connection which they give you when you purchase it. The battery lasts around 5 days, and it will give you a warning notification on your phone around a day before it needs charged. Charging only takes around an hour which is pretty quick.
There is also a guided breathing exercise on the charge, for 2 minutes and 5. I love meditation but sometimes don’t have the time, this little exercise is good as it vibrates when you breathe in and out, so you can shut your eyes, get comfortable and breathe along with it. It’s a nice little touch.
You can also receive notifications from your phone, for example when I am receiving a call my fitbit vibrates and the number of the caller flashes on the screen. Also when I get a text message the sender name and first bit of the message scrolls across the screen, again, a nice touch.
Overall, whether you get a fitbit or not comes down to whether you like tracking. I absolutely love tracking my life, activity, food, sleep, thoughts, progress. I’m not sure why I love it so much but the fitbit really enables me to do this with lots of information. I can’t really imagine life without my fitbit and imagine I will always have one. There are fancier models than the one I have, they use gps more, look more like watches, however, for me the charge 2 is the perfect level of functionality and price. My fitbit cost £120, but it really was £120 well spent, some of the more expensive models are up to £160, and you can get a zip (which really is just a pedometer with access to the app/website) for £45. There are other pedometers but the amount of value that is given by the app, integration and the functionality as a whole definitely makes me recommend it.