It has been over six years since I got this first Fitbit, a complementary exercise incentive from the last company I worked at before retiring. Since that first one, I have gone through several iterations with my current one also serving as a watch, a device I gave up long ago when I got my first cellphone. With each device, I have faithfully kept up with my steps every day and thanks to the history feature within the app, I have a record of those six years of steps.
When I first starting using my Fitbit, I really had no idea how many steps I took in a normal day. After a few days, I began to think getting about 8,000 steps was pretty good but then I would get little notifications like “just 2,194 more steps to reach your daily goal.” I don’t even remember setting a daily goal. As it turned out I didn’t; a goal of 10,000 steps is the default setting that comes preloaded on a Fitbit. But since it was about 5 miles, it seemed a worthwhile and attainable goal and so I began to walk extra to meet that daily goal.
Starting out, this was very easy to achieve on any day that I ran since my runs would yield over 5,000 steps before 8:00 AM in the morning. On other non-running days, I would have to work at it a bit more. My ultimate goal was to reach 10,000 steps each day for an entire week and was most pleased whenever I accomplished this.
In my first year of use, I worked towards several milestones of first 15,000 steps and then 20,000 steps on those occasions when I knew I would be on vacation and taking lots of extra steps. Naturally, the next progression was reaching 25,000 steps in a day and ultimately 100,000 steps in a week.
This I achieved a year later on my annual trip to Amsterdam where in the city center, walking first, and biking second, are the two main modes of conveyance. In the same week, I achieved both goals.
A year later, again in Amsterdam, I upped my record to just over 109,000 steps.
A couple of years ago when I started back biking, I found that my Fitbit did not accurately count my steps. Apparently wearing this Zip on my waist, it didn’t detect the motion of my legs while seated on the bike. But I figured out that I could put my Fitbit on my shoe and get credit for my pedal strokes.
This I did until my Zip quit working. When I discovered these were no longer manufactured, I upgraded to a Flex which is worn on your arm. Not having worn a watch in many, many years, it took a while to get used to having something on my wrist. But a nice feature this device also had was the ability to track your sleep.
I used this device for a couple of years but then I began to notice that I would occasionally look at it to check the time. I guess old habits die hard. After doing this many time, I decided to upgrade once again to my current device, a Charge which is also a watch. It not only tracks my sleep, but it provides a sleep score—one more way to compete. And since it is paired with my cellphone, I get my text messages on it as well.
With two devices now, I continued to use my Flex while exercising and the Charge all other times. The Flex on my arm also did not accurately track my steps while biking. Not even close. But as before, if I looped the strap through my shoelaces, it did.
This worked well until one day after my bike ride, I was sitting down trying to sync it with my phone app. After tapping the device several times without effect, I took it off and discovered that the tracker had fallen out of the strap. Over a 15-mile route, I knew I would never see the device again.
I pondered what to do but miraculously two days later when I was standing by the garage door where I normally park my bike prior to a ride, I looked down and there was the tracker.
The reason the tracker had fallen out was over a long period of time of taking it out every few days to recharge it, the plastic housing on the back side of the wrist strap had just stretched out.
Looking online for replacement wrist straps, I discovered an ankle band that would hold the tracker. This seemed like the ideal solution. When it arrived, I was most pleased with its use.
Then for some unexplained reason, it quit syncing with the phone app. I don’t know if it is due to an app update that it no longer syncs as this device is also no longer manufactured. Or maybe it has a mind of its own and thinks I have been tricking it into recording pedal strokes as steps and so refuses to cooperate.
So now I’m back to my old technique of lacing the wrist band of my Charge through my shoelaces in order to track my steps. This works fine and I only occasionally notice myself glancing down at my shoe to make sure it hasn’t come off.
As we approach winter and colder weather, I know I won’t be biking outdoors as much and since I don’t feel it is safe to return to the gym yet, I won’t be doing any indoor biking either. So, my main means of exercise over the winter will probably be walking and for this, the Charge on my wrist will work just fine. Maybe next spring, I’ll give that old Flex a try again.