About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

December 15, 2015

Another Tech Christmas Gift

Filed under: Columns — Ron @ 5:56 am

OK, personally I love to exercise.  I love to walk to the car from the house and then drive to work.  I love flexing my arms as I raise food to my mouth.  Get the picture?  Therefore I cannot give much personal information on the following.  However, I have friends and family members who talk about these "fitness" gadgets all the time.

Check various fitness trackers with Google I am talking about Fitbit and the like.  There are many items advertised as fitness trackers.  I have the smart watches Pebble and the Moto 360, which I wrote about in previous articles.  However, in my opinion they are not the best for tracking fitness, at least not the versions I have. 

Fitbit Charge HRThe Fitbit Tracker is the one I will refer to today as it is one of the most popular type of these fitness gadgets.  Basically, it uses a three-dimensional accelerometer to track your movements.  It will measure steps taken to calculate how far you walk every day.  You must enter in data to help it such as your height, weight and gender.  This is supposed to make it more accurate in tracking your steps which also can be converted to miles…or in my case yards.

Depending on the model and brand you have they can track your pulse, calories burned, how far and intensely you walked or ran and some even provided a different logarithms for going up and down stairs.  It can then display that information on the face of the tracker screen and/or transfer it to a website so you can display it on your computer (brand and model dependent).

They may also have a sleep tracker built in to let you know when you get a good night or bad night’s sleep.  I have used this several times with my Pebble and found that it does track my light, regular and deep sleep patterns when I wear it.  This is fine but no where can I find out how to get batter sleep.  So I feel you get info without application.  That being said they also have a vibrating alarm in them to wake you up in the morning.  I really like that since it wakes no one else in the house.

Jawbone Fitness Trackers

Now, it is time for Ron’s thoughts about tracking your walking throughout the day.  I am a geek so when I got my Pebble I set up the tracker one day with all the accurate body build information requested.  I went on a walk and counted each step.  When I finished I compared what the tracker said compared to my actual count.  It was off about 20% on about a mile walk.  Come on folks that is not that good a result.

I talked to several other fitness tracker users who also did comparisons.  So far, their experiences regarding accuracy vary.  The steps are consistent over time. 

As one person put it, "Before the tracker I did not pay any attention but now I will park farther from a door in the parking lot to see if I can increase my numbers."  Several others said something similar.  So in my opinion it is a good thing to get more exercise.  It should not matter if you walked two miles or twenty.  As long as you walk 0.01 mile more the next day you are improving. 

Prices on these go from around $99 up to $250.  Shop smart!

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