Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Day I Gave Up on My Fitbit

I wrestled with getting an activity tracker for a long time before making the decision to get one. I loved the idea of more data about what I was doing, but I also wasn't sure if it would be comfortable to wear or worth it. Lets face it, the things are not cheap and the early ones were notorious for bad data.

Since activity trackers were all over the 2015 holiday sales, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get one. After reading way too many reviews and changing my mind three times I decided the Fitbit HR was the tracker I wanted. (A bonus was that I was able to pay for a good portion of the device using Kohls cash from buying other Christmas presents.)

I was excited to be able to quantify what I was doing on a daily basis. The data nerd in me was excited about the all the possibilities. I really thought it would be worth wearing the clunky band. (Yeah, the thing is big and doesn't work well when carrying around a squirmy toddler. She was scraped by it more than once.) 

It was a lot of arm space, especially when worn with my Garmin.
Some of the data was interesting and I enjoyed the heart rate tracking, but really it didn't tell me anything I didn't know. I am active ridiculously active. The first few days I wore it I was amazed at how quickly I hit the 10,000 step goal. At this point in my life, sleep tracking is a joke. I try to sleep, but with a toddler that likes to get up early, there is only so much I can to.

Then some quirky things started happening. I would hit my goal when I was sitting on the floor with E (moving, but not really walking) or I would see a couple of flights of stairs pop up on my stats when I couldn't remember doing any stairs that day. All of these items made me start to question the accuracy of the information. 

The real kicker was when I hit 40 flights of stairs on a day I was working from my single story home. There was no way I was anywhere close to that with what I did that day. Maybe a flight's worth based on getting in and out of the car and stretching on a curb after a run.

With all of these items, I just can't trust the data from the device. If I can't trust the data, then it really doesn't make sense to wear the thing. As I like to tell my students, bad data doesn't lead to good decisions. 

I have to say I am excited to see where wearables go in the future, because the concept is great, but the accuracy has to be better. At least I didn't spend real money on the thing. Has anyone had better luck with other trackers?