Why wearing a Fitbit can change your life, not just your fitness

Measure your caloric intake and your hydration. Set the alarm. Get alerts for texts and phone calls. Track your sleep patterns

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Greg GazinFitness trackers have come a long way since the pedometer, the original step counter. They’re no longer just for health nuts and those who simply want to get fit. The latest models include many practical applications no matter what you’re doing to help you get you through your day.

Even better, they’re no longer big, clunky and odd shaped – in fact, they’re downright stylish. And they’re now affordable. To top it all off, they’re app-enabled and can easily connect wirelessly to over 200 devices like iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets for even greater functionality.

The Fitbit Charge 2 HR has been a permanent fixture on my wrist since the beginning of the year. It looks like a sleek digital watch – which it is. But if I push the side button or tap lightly on its display, up come the time, the date and the number of steps I’ve taken. Tap it again for your heart rate. Tap it again for the distance you’ve travelled today, how many calories you’ve burned and more. The side button also gives you access to a stopwatch and a battery indicator that gives a visual and a percentage of battery life remaining, so you know when it’s time to recharge.

Two other functions of the Fitbit I’m now hard pressed to do without are the alarm alert and message display capabilities. While you might think of these as redundant smartphone features, having them built in is a definite plus.

Alarms can be handy for more than just a morning wake-up. They can be used to alert you of an appointment or perhaps a reminder to take medications. And instead of a loud racket disturbing the entire household, your Fitbit will gently vibrate to notify you. And it has a snooze button. You can’t preset new alarms from the device, but you can set up to three at a time via the companion Fitbit app.

Fitbit can also be configured to receive notifications. It will vibrate and with a quick glance, you’ll see calendar alerts, text messages and who’s calling your cellphone. This can be extremely handy, especially if you’re in a place where pulling out your phone is inconvenient or just not a good idea.

While the Fitbit keeps track of your activity, it really shines when partnered with a smartphone or tablet. From the app’s dashboard, you can set fitness goals, track workout routines and embark on new challenges. You can also navigate through adventures in real time through the smartphone’s GPS – and even share the journey with friends and family.

There’s more:

  • A little animated motivation man nudges you to ensure you do a least 250 steps every hour and rewards you when you do. And you can do a two-minute relaxation technique guided from your wrist.
  • The app offers weight and nutrition guidance and tools, and measures your hydration.
  • Fitbit never sleeps but it can keep tabs on you when you do. Ever wonder how much deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep or how much time you’re awake during the night? The app tracks that.

The Fitbit Charge 2 is an easy-to-use little companion that gets you through your day and helps you live better.

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Wristband comes in two sizes; a variety of colours and band styles including leather and metal. It has a built-in battery and comes with proprietary USB charger, which you’ll need about every five days. It retails for under $200 and is available in Canada from many outlets, including Staples, London Drugs and Amazon.

Troy Media columnist Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.


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