Monday, September 19, 2016

Fully Charged

 I've had my Fitbit Charge HR for a little over a year now.
And I still love it. Maybe even MORE, now that I'm finally using a few more of its features!

I'm not sure if there were updates along the way, or if I just finally figured out some of the options that were there all along. I've recently started using more of the goodies available, and wonder why I hadn't done it all along! NOW I'm feeling fully charged using all the features of my Charge HR!

With the kids back in school, it's back to chauffeur duty for me. It's easy to remember and be ready for the drives TO school (at 6:30, 7:15 and 8:15) as the kids are right there waiting. Pick up though ... that's a little different. Sometimes as I'm home alone, it's easy to lose track of time. Last year, I'd set a little timer, but then I wasn't always in that room when it went off. Then I realized/remembered, my Fitbit has an alarm!

So I set it up ... elementary pickup Mon-Thurs, early out on Friday, and my turn for middle school pickup on Tuesdays (this one I really need, as it's just a once a week thing). Now, I get a little "buzz" on my arm at the selected times, and I'm off! It's been great. WHY wasn't I doing that all along? It's uber easy to set a one-time alarm too. Great feature. Thanks Fitbit!

Another feature I've been focused on more recently is the "Hourly Activity" option. I think this was a new addition with one of the updates (when Fitbit introduced the new dashboard). Here, to encourage you to get up and move, you get a dot when you walk 250 consecutive steps in any said hour. The default setting was from the hours of 9-5, but you could change it to any nine hour span. I chose to have it track from seven in the morning until nine at night.

One some weeks, I was REALLY motivated to make sure I filled in all my little dots. I would sync my Charge and if I hadn't hit my 250 steps, I would make sure and get it in. I'd watch the clock and be aware of the hours and my movement (or lack thereof). On other weeks, I wouldn't actively TRY to hit the steps, but just look at the feedback to see how I did during the day. I'm quite active, and adverse to sitting still, and 250 steps isn't much, about five minutes of movement. But still, it's interesting to SEE if you've been stationary. It's not always something I'm aware of (sitting down doing a blog update ... that would get me some days! Oops!) One of my favorite ways to get a quick set of steps in was to just practice a Zumba song! The device itself does not give you a buzz when the hour is almost up and hour haven't gotten your steps in ... I think other gadgets, and the newer Fitbit's do have that feature as well.

An update quite a while ago introduced "autotracking" to the ChargeHR. Before that, I'd need to remember to start the timer on my ChargeHR when Zumba class started up, and more importantly, to STOP it when it was over. Unlike my FitbitONE, there isn't an option to adjust the time if you forget (and leaving it running really throws off your stats!)

After a few initial tracking attempts, I didn't bother starting/stopping the time for my elliptical workouts. I do three or more a day, and it was just a pain ... and they were usually pretty similar every time. After the update, suddenly my elliptical workouts were being recorded without me doing anything. I found I did like the feedback from them, as sometimes my intensity did differ. I also loved when it would pick up a walk (my duck walks for example), when maybe I hadn't anticipated going very far, but then did (so I wouldn't have tracked it manually). 

It was interesting to see how the ChargeHR could guess what kind of exercise I was doing. It could tell the difference between being on the elliptical, or walking on the treadmill. It would differentiate between a walk and a run. It isn't perfect ... when I mow the lawn, it thinks I'm riding a bike, and when I AM riding a bike, it logs it as a walk. Happily, while I can't adjust the time frame, I can change the label to if it came up incorrectly (just for my records, it doesn't change anything in the stats). Just FYI ... Zumba comes up as a general "activity" ...  Now that my 13-year has a ChargeHR, it's fun to look at his account and see what exercise he's wracked up too (the basic Charge didn't have the auto-tracking feature). 

You CAN still track things manually, and a number of my Zumba buddies with Fitbits still do. I like to see how the auto-tracked minutes line up with what I judged the workout to be (or tracked on my other gadgets). It's usually within a minute or two. 

If you have a ChargeHR ... are YOU fully CHARGED? 
Are you using all the features available?

My Charge is my backup tracker. I had my One for years before and couldn't give it up, but wanted to try the heart rate monitor. So I got it, set up a separate account (so I can wear them both at once, and get data from both) and was on my way. 
I am friends with myself you see ... there IS quite a discrepancy in steps!

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