What’s all this tracking business, anyway? Everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon to get the brand new fitness devices. In 2014, interest in purchasing wearable fitness devices quadrupled (according to a CEA Study). There seems to be a few outstanding reasons why:
- Motivation – we need a reason to be active.
- Monitoring fitness goal progress – Like Pearson’s Law, which we at Walker Tracker firmly believe, “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improved exponentially.” This one rings true for me; I look back at my step log from a year ago to check in and make sure I’m progressing or at least maintaining my activity level.
- Monitoring physical activity level and intensity – how hard did you work?
For all those competitive folks out there – it’s a great way to make fitness fun. On Walker Tracker you have the option to compare your steps with your friends or challenge them in a competition. Need more reasons to join in the tracking revolution? Here is a bit on what we use and why we count:
Taylor – My Fitbit keeps me motivated and is a constant reminder to move more. I can tell the difference in my daily activity if I put my wristband on in the morning compared to when I forget. It’s also fun to reach a goal everyday – breaking my long term goals into manageable pieces makes it easier and more fun!
Steve – I’ve been using the Withings plus activity tracker on my hikes here in the PNW and in the city. It’s a good reminder to push myself to walk more on those rainy weekdays when motivation is lacking. The elevation tracking feature and heart rate monitor is a cool added bonus that gets infrequent use but is good to have. Comes with a free app so I can pair it with my android phone for weekly overview and better stats.
Nikki – I use the exercise app, Run Keeper! It keeps a log of my exercise, sends me motivational push notifications, let’s me take a photo of my exercise/run, and accurately tracks my distance and elevation. This app is great for everything from trail running to walking with a friend.
Jillian – I like mapmyride because it has virtually ALL activities as options (even hiking with light/medium/heavy backpack options). I like how it tells me when I have PR’d (beat my personal record) on a course (running or biking) and also tells me what other people have don’t that course and how well they did. Its also neat know when I do a “climb” on my bike and how long it was and what the grade of the road was. I can control my music through the app, but I don’t usually use that feature. It will also allow me to record an outdoor activity, like a hike, even if I don’t have internet…it just downloads the information as soon as I am back within cell range. And of course being able to post to Facebook is fun too.
Ben – I have worn a tracking device non-stop since December of 2005. Since it’s in my job description to test new devices, I often wear two or three. Currently I’m wearing a Fitlinxx Pebble, a FitBit One, and I’m using both Moves App and Healthkit’s internal pedometer on my phone. None of them agree with each other, of course — and that’s been my experience with all devices so far. However, accuracy is less important than our ability to judge how we do relative to previous days. And this is what I was most struck by (and still am) — the ability to turn something that was formerly subjective (how much physical activity I got in a day) into objective, quantifiable data. I’m a strong believer in one of our own mottoes, ‘that which is measured, improves’ — and this has certainly been the case for me. The measuring of my own data has made me more mindful and healthier.
Blanca - I wear a Fitbit Flex daily. I love how easily it syncs to my account and it is pretty generous with step counts. To be honest, I didn’t spend more than a couple of weeks making manual entries before I switched to a wireless device and I haven’t looked back since.
The drawbacks of the Flex are that it took me a while to get used to putting the wrist band on first thing in the morning and I occasionally forget to charge it/misplace the charger. The Fitbit doesn’t track outdoor cycling well (if at all) so I still need to convert any biking on the Walker Tracker activity converter.
I also wear a Fitlinxx Pebble, which gives me less steps and therefore I assume a more accurate count of my daily activities. Because the Pebble is worn at the waist and not the wrist it doesn’t give me extra steps for washing dishes and other arm-shaking movements that don’t really deserve much credit. That being said, occasionally it feels like I just didn’t get the credit I deserved which could be user error (the Pebble should be secured tightly to the waist or shoe). The Pebble, like the Fitbit doesn’t accurately track outdoor cycling steps.
Another plus to the Pebble is that it uses a coin battery, so I don’t need to remember to charge it before heading on a long hike or weekend adventure.