A Little Bit of Fit

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I went to visit one of the people I work with in October. I’m lucky to get to see her at her place once a year. Most of the time we talk on the phone, over FaceTime or by text message. She’s taught me far more than I’ve taught her, I think – isn’t’ that always the case?

This trip my goal was to introduce a new tool: The FitBit flex.FFF

I didn’t prepare her in any way for this purchase. I was completely prepared for her to flat out reject the idea. I had done some research on the different trackers and chose this one for it’s simplicity and water resistance. It also pairs nicely with an iPhone and the LoseIt App, both things she uses well. But my preferences don’t matter. What matters is her choice.

Off we went to Best Buy to look them over. She looked at different styles. She liked the colors of the FitBit Zip until I told her that it goes on your waist and could be forgotten and washed. (This is something I would do, without a doubt. I’ve also flushed my phone in the past…)  In the end, she chose the slate FitBit Flex and I followed suit.

After making dinner, we watched a movie while I tried to get hers all set up. She got a few good laughs as I talked to the computer. By the end of the night we were all set and sync’d. We also set up a bonus: We’re FitBit Friends, which in my mind is like doing a pinky swear. 

I honestly thought this was going to be enlightening. I knew she was more active just to get through each day than people realized. What I didn’t know was how much more active!  Let’s just say…she is crushing me in the steps category!  Maybe being able to drive isn’t such a good thing?

I’ve also found a number of really useful things this device does:

  • When you reach a goal, it explodes with vibrations on your wrist. The first time it did this I thought it was broken.
  • It tracks sleep quality. Ok, it’s not as good as a sleep study. But it does give an idea of how much a person is tossing and turning, which is useful.
  • Unlike her parents, I know when she gets up and goes to bed. And I’m not telling, because she knows the same thing about me! (Grin). It’s part of our support agreement.
  • It’s a great silent alarm. You can set the alarm daily – for many different times – or have it repeat on a cycle.  I actually like this better than my clock. No one else is bothered by my need to get up. I am now using it to remind me when I need to wind up my work for the day.  The possibilities are endless!
  • The app is fun. I can cheer, taunt, or send a brief message to my FitBit Buddies.
  • I earn badges on the FitBit site for doing good things.
  • It tracks different levels of activity (light, moderate, heavy), giving me an idea of what needs to be changed.
  • It takes just 15 minutes to charge, once every five days.
  • It goes in the shower just fine!

I have to say it’s a success. My friend is enjoying it also. She likes knowing that she’s crushing me. From a health coaching and parenting standpoint, it’s a great tool. You may need to help get thing set up and teach how to turn it on to sleep mode, but after a little coaching, it’s quite easy to use.

What I like most is that it gives everyone some data to work with and is much easier than a pedometer. One can focus on increasing the number of “very active” minutes, number of steps in a day, distance walked in a day, or the calories in/calories out equation. 

One of the great things about using the FitBit is that no denying what activity is or is not done. Heed this advice: Take a neutral tone. Discover what your child’s fitness level is (and yours) together. You may find he is far more active than you think (and you are not!)!  Take advantage of the newness to focus on meeting goals rather than focusing on what is not happening. And when a goal is met, get a new color!

One thing: The newer FitBit Force is also a possibility. I don’t have hands on experience with it. I am tempted to buy one though – it tells time. Yep, your water-resistent activity tracker can also be your watch.

We’re looking for more friends to connect with. In fact, we’re particularly interested in growing a circle of friends of folks with Down syndrome who are using one of the FitBit family of devices. Join us! We can cheer each other, taunt each other, and learn from each other.

Look for me (Joan Medlen) on FitBit or drop me an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’ll all get connected.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!


joan sig


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