Click below to view my Fitbit Logs:
Accountability is the secret (for me) in getting an acceptable step count for the day. Through the Fitbit community, I have found a few wonderful friends that keep me honest, motivated and are sure to give me a cyber “thump on the head” when my step count seems lacking.
The Fitbit site has wonderful tools for tracking, but this page provides a quick look at my daily count.
How are these numbers calculated? Here’s a brief description of what my Fitbit One (affiliate link) unit tracks:
Daily Steps: Fitbit measures daily steps via the Fitbit unit that I wear throughout the day.
Floors: My Fitbit tracker uses an altimeter to calculate how many floors I’ve climbed. An altimeter is a sensor that calculates altitude based on atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation, so the tracker calculates elevation gain based on the reduction in atmospheric pressure. My tracker registers a floor when it detects continuous motion combined with an elevation gain of about 10 feet. 10 feet is an average between residential and commercial floor heights.
Distance: Fitbit measures the distance I travel based on my stride length.
Very Active Minutes: Fitbit tracks “very active minutes” when I wear the unit while doing cardio workouts and high-intensity activities like jogging and running. The active minute count will be lower for activities that are not primarily step-based, such as weight lifting, cycling, and rowing. Fitbit tracks this by using metabolic equivalents (METs). MET is a unit used to represent the amount of oxygen used by a body during physical activity; therefore, MET can be used as an indicator for intensity of physical activities. For example, a MET of 1 indicates a body at rest. Active minutes are earned for all minutes above a certain MET value based on the thresholds Fitbit has established. Simply put, active minutes correlate to a greater amount of activity over the course of 60-second intervals.
I do notice that I can walk slowly all day and the Fitbit will not show any active minutes. I have to walk briskly for a period of time for it to show any active minutes for me.
(portions of the above explanation, were borrowed from the Fitbit site)
UPDATE: In April 2015 Fitbit anounced that they have changed the way they calculate Very Active Minutes.
This is from Mobi Health News
Fitbit announced today that it has changed the way it calculates and displays active minutes for users.
The company explained that its activity trackers will only count active minutes if a user participates in an activity for over 10 minutes, which is what the American Heart Association recommends. This will not affect the user’s step count numbers.
“This 10-minute rule means that walking to refill your coffee might get you ahead in a step challenge, but it will no longer count toward your active minutes,” the company explained. “It also means that from now on, your active minutes may sometimes appear lower than what you’re used to.”
But, Fitbit said it would also add moderate minutes to its active minutes count. Previously, Fitbit just counted very active minutes when calculating a user’s overall minutes. The company explained that the addition of moderate activity to the active minute count will impact users’ historical data and will give users more credit for exercises like brisk walks.
While this change doesn’t affect how activity is sensed by the device, it does change the way Fitbit users will view their activity, especially compared to how other activity tracking devices display and make sense of activity data. At the very least, a user that tracks their activity with more than one device or app will likely see a discrepancy between their Fitbit stats and other app and device data.
Lately, the accuracy of activity-tracking apps and devices has been a point of some contention. In early February, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a small study and concluded that activity tracking apps on smartphones are more accurate than fitness tracking wearables when it comes to step counts.
In response to the study, several activity tracking device makers, including Garmin, Misfit, Fitbit, and Jawbone, pointed out that it’s more important if the device is consistent with itself. It gives a valid comparison of a user’s steps yesterday to their steps today, even if that step count is a little bit divorced from reality.
Then, in March, Wired published a less rigorous study of activity tracker accuracy, after disputing some of the science behind the University of Pennsylvania study, and found activity tracker devices to be more accurate than activity tracker apps.
In the end, I LOVE my Fitbit One! I place it inside the pocket of my pants, hooked backward, at the bottom of the pocket edge. That way, if it ever falls out of the case, it will fall into my pocket. Also, it hits my upper leg perfectly and seems to be very accurate with my step count. When I am not wearing pants with pockets, I simply clip it to the top of my waste band. I do notice that it counts a few less steps on my waste band. But overall, I am VERY happy with it!
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