Tag Archives: Fitbit

I embrace the Misfit fitness tracker

2 Oct

For years, I have worn an Omron pedometer as part of a 10,000+ step a day program. The Omron pedometer is the most accurate pedometer that I have found. Part of my reluctance to move onto a fitness tracker, such as the Fitbit, is that I found they over counted steps.

On the other hand, I have been tempted by the idea of a fitness tracker that syncs to my phone, tracks activity other than walking (including sleep), and provides a good on line interface. Omron efforts to integrate its pedometers with the newer technology has been unimpressive.

Now, I have found a fitness tracker that seems to meet my needs: The Misfit Flash. It has a number of excellent features:

It is inexpensive compared to other fitness trackers ($23.99 on Amazon).

It uses a replaceable battery (but, I am not sure if this is good for the environment), and does not have to be charged frequently.

It does not over count steps as much as other fitness trackers I have tested (but is not as accurate as Omron pedometers).

It tracks both steps and other activities and assigns fitness points (I calculate that a fitness point equates to about 10 steps)

It has a nice interface available on my smart phone and computer.

It tracks sleep (although, I don’t know how I could check the accuracy of this).

One note of caution, the manufacture claims that it does not matter where you wear it. It does, if you wear in on your wrist, it will over estimate your activity. I have found it most accurate  if you wear it clipped to your waist or on your shoe.

How good is your exercise tracker?

13 Feb

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a rigorous comparison of several popular exercise trackers:


With the exception of the Nike Fuelband most of the trackers did fairly good job of measuring steps. However, the Digi-walker SW-200 , a less expensive dedicated pedometer, out performed many of the smartphone apps.

I have been very happy with my Omron pedometer. For me, the only drawback is the inability to sync it to statistical software.

But overall, the message seems to be that most exercise trackers will give you a reasonable approximation of how much you exercise.

For more discussion of these findings see this interesting post by Ernesto Ramirez at The Quantified Self.



David Sedaris on the Fitbit

24 Jun

I am big believer in self-quantification. Last year I blogged about trying and abandoning the Fitbit in favor of a pedometer. However, I know that many people, including my wife, love their Fitbits. Now count David Sedaris in this group:

“I was travelling myself when I got my Fitbit, and because the tingle feels so good, not just as a sensation but also as a mark of accomplishment, I began pacing the airport rather than doing what I normally do, which is sit in the waiting area, wondering which of the many people around me will die first, and of what. I also started taking the stairs instead of the escalator, and avoiding the moving sidewalk.”


Physicians should prescribe walking

5 Jun

One of the components of my memory improvement plan (to be discussed in my upcoming book) is studying while walking. Even without the cognitive component daily walking has important health benefits, described in the video below:



I walk for an hour every morning, either on my treadmill or outside. I wear a pedometer (more accurate than a fitbit or a smartphone pedometer)  and aim for a total 10,000 steps everyday. A hour of planned walking usually gives me between 6,500 and 7,000 steps, a good start towards the 10,000 goal.

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Returning the Fitbit Flex

30 Jul

After reading this review in the New York Times I decided to try the Fitbit Flex.

Now, after several days, I am returning it for a refund. There are two reasons why I was disappointed with this product:

1. While I knew that I could not sync it with my preferred operating system, Ubuntu, David Pogue’s article gave me the impression that it could sync via Bluetooth to my smart phone. I discovered, however, that many smartphones, including the one I own, are not supported for Fitbit syncing.  The manufacturer promises that they will support more phones in the future, but does not give a time frame.

2. The Fitbit seems to over count steps. I wear an Omron pedometer and I have tested the pedometer against actual step counts and have a high level of confidence in its accuracy. The Fitbit seems to run about 1,500 steps a day over the pedometer.

Update: Please note the above applies to the Fitbit Flex not the standard Fitbit. My wife loves her Fitbit.

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