I’m a little obsessed with my Fitbit, which is the brand name of the fitness tracker I have. It isn’t a perfect device, which might be why I’m obsessed? If it were perfect, then I would just wear it and ignore anything about it, but my Fitbit demands to be charged regularly, then if it isn’t plugged in just right, it can sit on the charger for hours and not get any juice, which means that those steps I’m taking are just WASTED! Why move around at all?
I have the kind that tracks my heart rate, and extrapolates a lot of stuff based on that. I can go onto the app on my phone, or on the computer and see graphs of steps over time, and resting heart rate over time. (For a while I was in a lowest resting heart rate contest with myself, until I found out that former president Bush has a crazily low resting heart rate, like in the 40’s, and I didn’t want to be in a contest that W could win.)
On NPR this week, there was a story about how incredibly inaccurate most fitness trackers are on a lot of things, especially calorie output. One device was tested at being about 93% inaccurate, which is ridiculous. You might as well not have any information at all.
A professor of preventative medicine at Louisiana state University, Tim Church, was quoted on the NPR story as saying, “It’s just human nature. People are checking these inaccurate counts and they think they’ve earned a muffin…and they’re sabotaging their weight loss program.”
Well, first of all, Professor Church, it wasn’t a muffin, it was a cupcake, and it wasn’t a cupcake, it was 2 cupcakes…
Not really. Well, yes, really, I did have 2 cupcakes. It was the 8th grade picnic. I didn’t check my calorie count on the Fitbit beforehand, I just ate them because I like cupcakes.
I think Dr. Church is wrong about people using trackers mostly as part of a weight loss program. Most people I know who wear them regularly are nuts like me, enjoying the process of tracking movement, comparing notes with others about how many steps they have gotten to. (On Tuesday, I hit 10,000 steps at noon! It was crazy!)
So, what are your thoughts? Do you currently track fitness? What device? Did you used to use a device? Why’d you stop? Does your job give perks for using one? How do you feel about that?