Fitbit One with Android app

MobileFitIt's #MobileFit Month here at Mobile Nations, and that means we're looking at all of the best devices to get you fit and healthy. A big part of that group is of course, fitness trackers.

There are people who like to exercise and those who avoid exercise at all costs. The exercising group may be more willing to strap on a fitness tracker, however we'd argue that those who avoid exercise are the ones that would benefit much more. In fact, it seems the non-exercising group are the ones that should consider buying a fitness tracker.

Stepping back with a brief explanation for that logic — the group that enjoys exercising likely doesn't need the extra motivation that a fitness tracker can provide. As a runner and a Fitbit user, a low step count only tells me something I already know, that I took a rest day. One of the big perks of using a fitness tracker is motivation. This comes by simply watching the step count rise throughout the day, and extends to the social aspect. Both of those could help to encourage someone to take a few extra steps during the day. Maybe say, by parking a little further from the store, or by taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator.

If you are the type that goes from home to work and back home spending your day at a desk — you may be surprised at how few steps you are actually taking

On a simple level, fitness trackers provide an easy way to keep track of your daily steps as well as other points such as calories burned, water intake, sleep and more. Some of them, such as the Jawbone UP app, also allow you to keep track of your food intake. More often than not the data is presented in colorful charts and graphs. That means it should be appealing and easy to read for everyone.

Thoughts of recording these details, and looking at charts and graphs does bring thoughts of the quantified self movement, but there may be something a bit simpler than getting a fitness tracker and jumping full swing in to that movement. Similar to how someone would be told to keep a food diary if they are trying to diet and lose weight — wearing a fitness tracker and paying attention to the data will make you more aware of your activity. Or more accurate in some cases, your inactivity. If you are the type that goes from home to work and back home spending your day at a desk — you may be surprised at how few steps you are actually taking. It isn't hard to find ways to take extra steps during the day, but on the flip side, it is surprisingly easy to take very few steps.

Those who do pick up a fitness tracker should follow one bit of advice to get started — you don't have to start wearing the tracker and immediately going out for extra walks. You should go about your normal routine the first few days of wearing a tracker, this way you get a baseline of your true activity. Once you have an idea of what you are doing per day, then you can find ways to make changes and begin getting the extra steps. Possibly even looking to get that magical 10,000 steps per day down the line.

Coming with the motivation aspect, many of these fitness bands offer badges. These badges are only virtual, but they should still be fun to get, and fun to share with friends when you feel like doing a little bit of bragging. Using Fitbit as an example and you could get badges for reaching a record number of steps per day or a record number of stair floors climbed per day. Fitbit also has badges for lifetime achievements. For #MobileFit Month we even setup a Fitbit group so you can see how you stack up against other Mobile Nations readers.

We made the point earlier and even talked about it on our #MobileFit Month Kickoff Show, but it seems worth stressing; using a fitness tracker could provide the extra push that will get someone off the couch, away from the television and out for some exercise. A short walk before bed could be swapped for the couch and television time. Those looking for the entertainment aspect could take that walk with some headphones listening to a podcast or an audiobook. And remember that exercise will likely improve your health, and possibly lead to the loss of a few pounds. In the end a bit of exercise should help to improve the body and the mind.

Using a fitness tracker could provide the extra push that will get someone off the couch, away from the television and out for some exercise

We've already mentioned how there is some benefit from strapping on a fitness tracker, but a good amount comes from the mind. Remember that simply knowing what you are doing helps. Perhaps the harder side of making this decision is which fitness tracker you should buy. There are plenty of available options, including some from Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, Nike and others. Most of the bigger names share the common basic features, and some add in perks such as heart-rate monitoring. But while the features may vary a bit from device to device, the good news is that you should be able to pick up a tracker for about $100.

This brings another reason to buy a fitness tracker. They are relatively inexpensive. Well, to be honest, the (roughly) $100 is a good chunk of change, but we'll consider that further motivation. After all, if you are willing to step up and spend the money you are more than likely going to be looking to get your moneys worth and that means continued use, which ultimately will get you paying attention to your daily activity and hopefully making changes to improve that daily activity.

This article originally published on Connectedly as part of #MobileFit month


Reader comments

Why you should buy a fitness tracker


If you want to buy right now, Fitbit Flex for $90-$99 is the best imo.

If you want to wait, the Fitbit Force successor that is coming this fall will probably be the best in the sub $150 range. If you want one with heartbeat sensor as well that is going to take you above $150 into the $200ish range.

If you have Samsung phone it's almost a no brainer, Samsung's S-Fit suite of Apps is actually FDA approved, meaning it stood up to a variety of Clinical studies. I also believe you can set it up to send your biometric data directly to your Doctor so someone who actually understands what it means can evaluate

It's pointless if all it does is look good but does not even worn as a fitness band lol

Posted via Android Central App

I think it's time we introduce some science into, the equation. If there is zero science to back up the marketing claims, just spend the money on a personal trainer and a nutritionist.

I just found out I get fit bits for half off through work. I work at a hospital and it's like a health incentive thing, so look into that people!

I wear my fitbit flex and have for almost a year. I've finally come to the realization that it doesn't' do much other than serve as my very early morning alarm clock so I don't wake my wife. I'm a runner and triathlete, so I know that the reason I didn't hit goal was because I took a rest day also. Also, compared to my wife's fitbit one, even if we do the exact same thing, mine always registers a much higher step count- leads me to believe mine isn't all that accurate (this week it gave me credit for folding laundry).

As a counter point,

Currently there are only two FDA approved fitness trackers, the S Health Fitness Tracking App on Samsung and two devices made by British Company, Camntech though are approved for Clinical Trial only.

Work for Samsung?? Lol

I have not heard many positive things on the Samsung fitness band at all. Most say it's not worth the price and barely even works as its supposed to.

Posted via Android Central App

We've enter the electronic version, of the 18th century flim flam man where any old person could stand on a soap box and sell a miracle cure/tonic, while running to the bank making loads of money. Introducing real science and data into these devices reveals this.

I personally use Runkeeper, the free version, but use it only to track mileage, and records of the route run or walked.

I had the FitBit Force. I had problems with it that nearly entirely cleared up a month after I sent it back in e recall. I've tried two others since then, both not of the FitBit variety, and both cause the same problems, so I am pretty much done with the fitness tracker thing.

I'll say what I've always said. DON'T buy a fitness tracker. Buy P90X. Costs the same, results will be MUCH better.

My g2 tracks my steps. I work from home (systems developer) and I can assure you it is pretty shocking how few steps I take in a day.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

The accelerometer can double as a pedometer, this isn't exactly ground breaking tech... There's cheap pedometers aplenty and my Sony Ericsson dumb phone could count steps over four years ago. Smartphones or these newer devices just do a better job of tracking, presenting, and exporting all that info...

Edit: Plus phones can combine it with GPS data amongst other sensors if you want more info, but basic step tracking is dead simple.

While true that the accelerometer can handle this, the G2 and a few other phones have a HW step counter sensor that can be taken advantage of by recent stepcounter api in Android. This consumes WAY less battery than the accelerometer solution.

It has a sensor in it. additional sw is required; i failed to mention that.
It does NOT use the accelerometer for that. It has an actual step counter sensor. The N5, the G2 and maybe two or three other phones have it.
Look for Pedometer sw in the play store.
Having the sensor for this means that almost no battery is used collecting the data.

Yes, but you dont carry your phone 24/7 as you would carry a fitness tracker, so it´s not the same...

I am not sure I'd wear a fitness tracker 24/7. And I do pretty much have my phone with me all the time. But you do have a point.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

QUESTION: Can the Fitbit be used to track individual events rather than my whole day? Sort of like a fancy/connected pedometer... I'm a nerd and an IT guy, I know I'm not active thru most of my day so wearing something all day is all but pointless for me.

I do run 30+ miles a week though, plus some biking here and there, if I could keep track of that with the cheapest $50 Fitbit that'd be dandy. I just wanna be able to see how far I ran per day/week etc, don't care about anything else really.

If the Fitbit can manage that whether it's in the native app or by exporting to Runkeeper then I'd get one (because I really don't like running with my phone), cursory searches haven't clarified this for me and with Android Wear looking I haven't bothered to research further...

The short answer is yes ... the app shows mileage etc., so if you just wore it during your run you would get that info. It also syncs with Endomondo, so I'm assuming it would to Runkeeper also. For biking, you would have to have it in your pocket, not on your arm....that may not give accurate results though.

Nice, I imagine neither arm nor pocket might be truly accurate on a bike, might have to look into that, but their cheapest model is a little clip on thing so maybe I can attach it to my shoe laces when biking... I'm mostly concerned with running anyway (phone can always be tucked into a bike bag), not married to any one app either, Runkeeper is just the first that came to mind...

I'm not using any right now because like I said, I don't like bringing the phone on runs. I have a good idea how far I've run just based on route familiarity and pace but that's it (I did run track & cross county in HS). At $50 or $60 I'll spring for the cheapest model just for basic tracking tho, even if it ends up redundant later with Android Wear... I think that model doesn't do altitude but whatever, I'm not climbing any steep hills.

10,000 steps a day? Really? I average 30,000 a day just walking and jogging. Anyway, if you have s-phones, then Galaxy gear is a no brainer...if you have any other, fitbit pretty much is the best. I tried the jawbone up and returned it. Pain in the ass to sync, charge, etc.
Posted via Android Central App

Funny, a certain website just posted an article in regards to why these fitness trackers aren't actually worth anything. I'd have to agree with some things they say. Namely, don't rely on these things to accurately count steps or how many calories you've burned. Counting calories is not that simple.

Posted via Android Central App

Or you could just get off your ass and actually do some fitness until you're dog tired. Geesh...some people need technology to do EVERYTHING.
As a football player, i can assure you that it does not take a fitness tracker to get you fit. Some things do not come easily and fitness is one of them.

I just can't bring myself to have a $500 smartphone on me when I'm lifting heavy weights. Plus I don't want someone calling me during my gym time. Phone stays in the locker and I have a old mp3 player for music.

Posted via Android Central App

My wife has the Fitbit Force. Fitbit promised an update that would allow for smartphone notifications. Then a VOLUNTARY recall was issued due to skin irritation. Now, no word on this update.

Ya, there most likely won't be one. When the tech support finally hinted towards this in their forums, I went ahead and did the recall. I got a Pebble (I don't need the pedometer stuff, just a watch that will notify me so I can keep my phone in my pocket) and never looked back. It is nice to see who texts me or emails me. Or glance at the weather since my office isn't next to windows. :)
For the use I get out of the Pebble, I have to charge it twice a week, but I do that at work, before my day starts (read my RSS feed, let the Pebble charge for ~1 hour)

BTW, my wife also has a FB Force, she didn't want to recall it as it was doing what she wanted. I kind of hope she does before they say they won't honor any more recalls.

I bought an LG Lifeband Touch--so far it's actually pretty freaking cool. I was one of those that had to return my FitBit Force due to rash issues.

Anyway, I'd definitely recommend it. I have no idea why LG isn't advertising the thing.

I have it also and find the software lacking
1)not linking to my fitness pal
2)not showing heart rate on band
3)notification for text tells me I received a text,great but nothing else and not emails
The hardware is great,but I find it lacking even to the force as an activity tracker. And if you want support,you are hosed.

Posted via Android Central App

I have the Polar Loop and love that thing, waterproof, heart rate sensor compatible and an awesome web and app (still in beta), I tried the Garmin but didn´t like it and decided finally for tle Loop and I love it!!

Still waiting for one with a built-in glucose monitor.....
Diabetes is a huge area for tracking all of these body functions, but for us diabetics, adding real time blood sugar levels would make these fitness trackers a MUST for millions of people.

Posted via Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy Express i437p on AT&T's 4G LTE Network