Thursday, 4 October 2012

Further Fitbitting

I’ve now had the Fitbit for 5 weeks and I have to say that it is still surprisingly motivating trying to meet the daily targets of 10,000 steps and 10 flights of stairs.  I am still a bit obsessive about checking the tally at various points during the day, so have taken to wearing it clipped to my trouser pocket, thus avoiding having to fumble down the front of my top to locate the device in the deep depths of my bosom.  Choosing to take the stairs rather than the lift has become second nature, and this works really well at work where I work on the third floor and have to go to the ground floor a few times a day.  I also choose to walk more when the opportunity arises, such as the just under a mile round trip to the bus stop to pick up my son.  I am quite disappointed when it’s pouring with rain and I have to take the car.  If this happens, I now jog up and down on the spot in the bus stop until the school bus arrives.  I don’t know what the motorists going past must think, and it is a main dual carriageway!   If it gets to bedtime and I am sitting at the 9k mark, I run around the house until I get my count up to the magic 10k. 
The Fitbit is not without its flaws, however.  It does exhibit some inconsistencies and strange counting that can skew the logged results.  The first time I noticed anything odd was on the first week-end I had it when we went out for the day.  This was to a “Truck driving experience” (a Father’s Day gift for DH who strangely prefers the idea of driving large trucks to speeding around a race track in a Ferrari....).  This involved an hour or so in the car, followed by a short walk from the car park, a bit of waiting around, 30 minutes or so in the truck (DS and I were allowed to sit in as passengers), and then returning home.  NO climbing flights of stairs or steep hills.  So, when I got home, I was most surprised to see an email from Fitbit giving me my “50 floors in a day” badge!  When I checked the results, it showed that during the time I had been out, I had climbed 68 floors.  More detailed checking of the times I did all this climbing (the display on the website breaks the activities down into 5 minute slots), showed that all that stair climbing had been done whilst I was sitting as a passenger in my husband’s van.  A bit of research on the Fitbit forums shows that driving can frequently log steps and floors, so to get around it you have to record a log of the driving activity.  A bit of a faff, but once I had done this, it wiped out all the erroneous flights of stairs and a number of steps that had been recorded.  More annoyingly, I have to remember to do this every time I make a trip in my husband’s van. 

Another quirk is that the number of flights of stairs it logs when I go from the ground floor to the third varies between 4 and 6.  There are, as you would imagine, 3 flights of stairs between the ground and the third floor.  The first floor is a mezzine floor, so the first flight of stairs is shorter than the others.  Flight 2 and 3 are split in half by a small landing, so technically each could count as 2 flights.  I would probably expect a consistent count of 5, however I sometimes get 4, sometimes 5 and sometimes 6!  What accounts for the difference?  Does it depend on whether I bounce up the stairs enthusiastically, or whether I drag myself slowly??  A mystery.

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