First, a non-disclosure: there’s no need for any “full disclosures” here – nobody at Fitbit even knows I’m writing any of this, much less paying me to say it. And I’m sure there are other fitness trackers out there that do even more than this brand or this model. I’m just sharing my experience in case you want to try it. I had no idea it would make this much positive difference in my life.

The little package arrived on July 7. I charged it up on July 8, and wore it all day on July 9. I bought it because I had always wondered how much a Scoutmaster walked during a week at Boy Scout summer camp – a place where I have been volunteering for more than 30 years now.

I knew it was a lot of walking…but I would never have dreamed that my first Fitbit day would be over 20,000 steps and over 8 miles. Fitbit encourages a goal of 10,000 steps per day, and it was no problem at all to get that done during my week at camp. Every day was at least 17,000 steps (over 7 miles), and the record high was 23, 323 (9.5 miles).

Do I sound competitive here? I think I do, at least somewhat. And that is most unusual for me. I was “sharing” my results with friends and family inside and outside the camp. Since that first week, the feeling has evolved from competition to motivation, I think.

The following week was completely different – or I thought it would be. A relaxing time with extended family at a cottage on a lake. Time to test out the swimming feature of the Fitbit. I chose the Flex 2 from the Fitbit line because I swim twice a week, every week, at the local Rec Center, and I wanted to measure that exercise too. The little “pebble,” as the Fitbit mechanism is called, again performed perfectly. Since there were no lap lanes in the lake, I estimated by counting my strokes during that cottage week. It seemed to be correct. Later, in the pool, the measurement was surprisingly accurate.

Since then, there have been two weeks of more normal days. The swimming twice a week is a given for me. But for most of the last couple of years, that was all I was doing. I had a hip replacement surgery late in 2014, and the hip has not really been right since then. Thanks to the swimming and a terrific massage therapist I found last winter, the hip was finally ready to resume daily walks, although with a cane.

Again, using the Fitbit has provided me with motivation to get out there and compete against myself to equal or better what I did the day before. Besides measuring my walks and swims, you can set it to remind you to move each hour of the day – I chose the reminder for 9 am to 5pm. If you haven’t moved at least 250 steps in one of those hours, you get a little vibration to nudge you at 50 minutes past the hour. I have been amazed at how many hours I needed that, and also at how motivating it is to look at the readout on my phone and see the little hourly dots filled in. If “sitting is the new smoking,” as some have said, then I needed the Fitbit for more reasons than I thought.

Since it’s only been a month, I can’t say for sure whether the novelty will wear off. But I haven’t really explored all of the features yet, so I don’t think so. You can direct the Fitbit to track all kinds of exercise, tell you how well you’re sleeping, and keep track of how much water you’re drinking, your weight, calories in and out, and macronutrients. All in one place.

Maybe you’ll want to try one too. Write to me at [] and let me know how it goes if you do.


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