Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Should I Get an Activity Tracker?

Photo by Andres Urena

It seems so easy to gain weight with age (especially with the pandemic and inactivity). I tried to up my activity, watched what I ate, and tried to envision a more healthier version of myself. I pondered getting an activity tracker to get an accurate step count and to be able to see my calorie burn. There are various activity trackers on the market which provide a wide array of features so it’s important to find one that fits your budget and has the aesthetic appeal and features you need/want. I ended up getting a Fitbit. After using the Fitbit over the past few months, I can say, it has been a good tool for me. I was impressed that Fitbit has allowed me to keep track of so much more than I imagined. Here’s a quick summary of what I liked about my experience with the Fitbit:

  • It was easy to set up and download and sync the Fitbit app
  • Good battery life (I charge it about once a week, more frequent if you use the GPS)
  • Step count with miles you have walked
  • Sleep duration and stages of sleep with a sleep score
  • Auto tracks exercise
  • Active zone minutes
  • Activity reminder (alerts you to at least take 250 steps an hour for a period of 9 hours)
  • Calorie expenditure
  • Track water intake
  • Track food intake
  • Allows you to log your weight, see your BMI and trend it
  • Tools and apps (Mindfulness, various videos, weather, Spotify, timer/alarm)
  • A weekly summary on the app and email
  • Allows you to link with friends and family

Active zone minutes is the feature I love the most. It has helped me gauge what exercise works the best for me. It tracks your heart rate in fat burning, cardio, and peak zones. 1 active zone minute is given for fat burn and 2 active zone minutes for cardio and peak zones.

Overall, it has been a good experience for me to see what exercise routines get my heart pumping and are effective so that I can achieve my fitness goals. One should consider getting an activity tracker if they are looking for an easier way to monitor their fitness and lifestyle choices. Getting a weekly summary of what I have achieved not only motivates me to continue what I am doing well, but also improve on other parameters. If nothing more, I am now accountable and try to do better because of that. Whether you get an activity tracker or not, work on becoming that better, healthier, and fitter version of yourself.