When school ended a few weeks ago, I began to worry about not getting enough activity during the day. At school and in most of my classes, I’m not sitting very much or at all. Or if I am sitting, then I’m up and moving pretty frequently to talk with students. I have to walk to and from my car as well as between buildings for different classes.
For the summer, I’m working in the design studio four days per week instead of two, and I do sit for most of the day. I decided that I wanted to make sure that I got up and walked around frequently throughout the day even if it was only for a minute.
Several years ago, I had used the small clip-on FitBit to help motivate me to get more exercise. The dog ate the first one, and I lost the second one when the clip loosened, and it fell off my clothes. I knew I didn’t want to go that route again, so I began researching alternatives and ultimately settled on the FitBit Alta.
The FitBit Alta isn’t as wide as the FitBit Charge. It has a smooth black display, which is matte silver underneath. The band comes in two sizes, small and large, and I ordered the small because I have tiny wrists. I read Amazon reviews that people were struggling with snapping the band closed, but I haven’t had any troubles with it at all. I wear it two notches from the tightest size, and it’s a little loose, but not floppy.
Alta arrives with a USB charger and a Bluetooth connector for your computer, which I have never used. I’ve found that the charge lasts about three to four days. When I see the battery is low, I charge it in the evening while we’re watching tv so that it’s ready to go by the time I go to bed.
The FitBit Alta comes with a nice array of features that take it beyond a basic step counter. Unlike some other fitness trackers, it has a digital interface that includes a clock so you can wear it in place of a watch. You can also check your step count, mileage, calories and active minutes without having to open the app on your phone.
In addition to counting your overall daily steps, every hour between 9:00 and 6:00, Alta will give you a little buzz on the wrist if you haven’t walked 250 steps by the fifty-minute mark. The app tracks how many hours you were able to meet the 250 step minimum. This feature is really helping with my goal to move a little throughout the day.
The app allows you to set goals for your steps and sleep as well as track other information like food and weight. It provides detailed information about your activity and graphs it automatically, which is perfect for an OCD nerd like me. So far I only track steps and sleep as I’m not concerned with calories or weight, but it’s nice that you don’t have to enter this information in a separate app if you do want to track it.
I’ve been using Alta for about two weeks now to track my steps and sleep. My goal is 10,000 steps per day, and I am fairly successful at meeting that goal if I take a long walk after work for about an hour. On other days, I’ve gone for two shorter walks instead. As long as the weather is good, it’s pretty easy to meet the 10,000 steps.
If the weather is bad, meeting the 10,000 step goal is a little more challenging. I’m not beating myself up over this though. I know things like rain and after work plans will get in the way, so I’m shooting for a 7,000 step average.
I do wear the band to bed and use the silent alarm. I love this feature because I no longer use my phone as an alarm clock. I have been steadily making progress towards not checking my phone as it gets closer to bedtime, hoping that I will sleep more soundly. I’ve found that eliminating the phone in combination with lavender essential oil has helped my sleep dramatically.
(The light blue is restless time and the pink is awake time. My dog wakes me up at 5:00 every morning, which is why you see that pink band, and then I go back to sleep for an hour.)
The app allows you to set multiple silent alarms and indicate which days you want to use them. When the wristband buzzes, you tap the face to turn it off. I also like that the Alta senses when you go to sleep. You don’t need to manually tell it to start sleep mode.
As much as I like the FitBit Alta, it’s definitely not perfect. I am certain that it logs steps even when I’m not moving, usually when I’m doing something with my hands. I also find it difficult to get the display to turn on and often have to tap it multiple times. I wish that the leather bands were available in different colors like black and brown or that the metal band was available in gold. Why can’t someone make a good looking fitness tracker?
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. I’m definitely moving more throughout the day and going on more walks. I have even been parking towards the back at the grocery store in order to get more steps. I was also able to see that I wasn’t getting nearly as much sleep as I thought I was and started going to bed a little earlier and sleeping a little bit later. In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that my stamina on my longer walks has increased, and so has the dog’s!
I ordered my FitBit Alta on Amazon, and the Prime shipping was spot on as usual. If you’re interested in the Alta, I would recommend reading through some of the Amazon reviews to understand other people’s experiences.
I love data and tracking metrics so I don’t see myself going without some kind of tracker anytime soon. I may upgrade to the new Apple watch eventually if they have managed to improve the battery life, but for right now I’m happy with the Alta.
Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one?