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24/7 Activity Tracking with the Fitbit Flex

Early this month I purchased the long awaited Fitbit Flex , which is a super impressive wireless sleep and activity tracker. The slim & stylish device is intended to be worn 24/7 and it most certainly has not left my wrist since it was setup on July 1st. During the day, it tracks my steps, cumulative distance, and calories burned. At night, it works to track my sleep quality and has become a replacement to my usual alarm clock, waking me via a silent vibration.

At any stage throughout the day I can check the Fitbit mobile app or login to www.fitbit.com to check how I am progressing towards my daily, weekly and long term goals.  The following data highlights the sort of information I receive throughout the day.Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 7.15.36 PMAll of this data is gathered effortless via the Fitbit Flex and sent wirelessly to my mobile device. With this data its become incredibly easy to make changes to all facets of my day. The biggest focus has been given towards minimising my sedentary time outside of the 2 and half hour daily commute.  However one of the biggest areas of improvement for me since using the Fitbit has come in the form of the ability to track and identify my sleep patterns. Given the device has a tiny accelerometer contained inside, it is able to track even the smallest movements. It uses this to identify the sleep phases. Light Sleep = movement, Deep Sleep = No movement. As you can tell from the graph above, my sleep included great amounts of deep restorative sleep which I have identified over time to occur with a consistent bed time of 10.45pm. I’m also excited by the ability to compete with friends for the most daily steps. So come join me and a few others as we compete for activity supremacy.

You can purchase a Fitbit Flex here

As a result of my success with the Fitbit, I am very eager to make use of it within my senior Physical Education classroom, helping students to keep track of, and understand their physical activity. It will allow them to accurately determine whether or not they meet the National Physical Activity & Sedentary guidelines.

With this in mind, I’m excited to be giving away a Fitbit Flex to one lucky person. See the image below for details. Good luck.

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31 Responses

  1. Every Middle School PE class at our school completes a log of their physical activity over the course of a week as part of our Personal Health unit. They must plan the week in advance in order to meet the NPAGs each day, factoring in different levels of activity. Then they attempt to achieve the NPAGs by following their plan. The hardest part for the kids is often remembering exactly what they have done each day and accurately recording the different levels. The Fitbit Flex would be ideal to help record this in my classes!

  2. Thanks for the review of this great tool. I teach grade 12 exercise science and would love to use this within this class. It would be great to compare the quality of their sleep with the quality of their diet and the amount of daily activity they receive. The fitbit would allow us to quantify, discuss and analyze this so that theory becomes reality.

  3. I would love to have a fitbit classroom set to use in my physical education classroom! It’s amazing what kids can do with their results and love tracking my results with my pedometer on a daily basis! I would love to have a go at this new model and I like the feature that you can’t see your results until you upload your data, giving our students the challenge to try harder! If I only had one, I would use my ipad app team shake and pick a different student every class period to try out the fitbit and do my best to get ahold of some grant monies to move forward in purchasing a classroom set! Betsey Caldwell, The Newton School, Strafford, Vermont.

  4. I would have each student wear it for a week or 2. This would allow each student the opportunity to wear it at least once throughout the year. After the student has worn the fitbit, they’d have to analyze their results as part of an assignment. This sounds like a tremendous piece of equipment.

    • I love this idea – what a great way to get data over a longer period of time, plus its easier to take care off than a pedometer. It would be even more amazing to have a class set to use for the semester or term.

  5. The fitbit flex is something neat, which tracks activity and how long we sleep!
    Just slip it on and watch it go, this piece of tech is the best I know!
    Just set your goals and watch the app, then train your butt off, no need to flap!
    All day and night it is monitoring you, the park the gym, even on the loo!

    But in the school is where it’s made, those fitness lessons it will sure to aid!
    From daily steps, intensity too, the effort applied is down to you!
    So Jimmy and Jonny pick up your game, it’s monitoring you so don’t be lame!
    A ladder of effort, of calories burned, competition is mounting a title to be earned

    So enter the lesson and look at the target, more effort more steps, a goal driven market.
    Your PB is set and its more that you need, so get off your bum and to this advice heed,
    Work harder and longer but remember to sleep, and your medals will come, they’ll fall at your feet
    The potential is massive for the young and the old, the fitbit is here and it’ll win you the gold!

  6. I’m SOOOOO excited to use this equipment and to see how the data compares/consistent with a pedometer, Polar heart rate watch, and the ISmoothrun app (which is amazing). I teach both adapted and regular high school PE. I have such a diverse range of students including freshman girls classes and soccer specialty classes. I also coach soccer. It would be so interesting to track activity levels of different students in connection to age, gender, different activities, or from PE class to their afterschool practice, and especially in a pool. Is the fitbit waterproof? I’d be up to comparing my data with you too PE Geek! Lets get this fitbit up and running! I’d love to see if they really do work harder at practice than class and how much??? Awesome tool. Thanks for sharing!

  7. It would be ideal for all pupils to experience this whether on a school team to push their fitness to the max, for the average active pupil to understand their activity levels or to support the inactive pupils and therefore those a risk. I think I would use this with the at risk pupils to show the positive impact small changes to their lifestyle can have on their health and fitness.

  8. I wear a Fitbit one at school and my youngest students love to ask me “what is your number?” I start working with the youngest students to get them thinking of being physically active and moving and combined with their love of numbers the Fitbit is ideal. They love to try and read the number and keep me honest when my number is low – “you better get moving!” Pedometers with young students are tricky they fall off, dangle by the clip and can get lost but with a wrist band I believe the student would find more success. They already love to wear bracelets so this would not be anything new and would encourage them to reach a higher number. With the Flex I could have my students wear for 1 – 2 weeks record their data and analyze the results with their peers. It would encourage the dialogue of how to increase their numbers. The added benefit of having students wear the Flex is that they would wear it home and parents would be able to partner with their child and myself to encourage physical activity outside of physical education class. Starting early can only help our students to develop life long habits of being active.

  9. I have a fitbit one and am thinking about this as I am on fitbit #3!! Hoping a flex will stop me from losing it – thanks for the review! BTW I feel lost if I forget or don’t have my fitbit one one and have often danced around late at night to get to a better step number! It works for me!

    Would love a class set!

  10. I am excited about the possibility of using the fitbit in the classroom. Kids are so competitive and I think this would encourage healthy competition to keep them moving. Having the fitbit would keep them accountable to me, themselves, and each other. Recording data on a daily basis will help them see where they are in their own fitness and take responsibility for their own health!

  11. I actually just emailed fitbit today asking if they’ve considered making something more suitable for physical education. I think these devices can be great to motivate students to be active in and outside of schools and to also impact their families. Would utilize these as a part of health and pe by having them assess their activity levels and sleep habits prior to fitbit and see what it actually is.

    • so did I! I think there is a huge market out there for PE and devices such as the flex, especially as this is less likely to get mislaid than a pedometer style device

  12. What an amazing tool. just imagine a class set of these bad boys………. so much possibility my head hurts.

    Anyway i would do a combination of things. First would involve investigating how training times during the day affects students sleeping patterns, this would be a 4 week block of work, looking at morning, lunch time and evening trainings. As well as combining data such as intensity, effort, diet and PB. It would be valid for almost any sport, fitness program, and with some of the other apps students could self monitor and report. (arghh this tech is making me freak out with possibilities)

    A second study would be really interesting to look at how stress levels affect sleeping patterns, especially during exam periods. This would require two groups of students, a group who do not exercise and a group who do. Then measure their sleep patterns before during and after exams.

    Oh and finally I would love to slap some of these bad boys on teachers in the school and measure sleeping patterns during report writing periods.

    If only……… With 1 I would actually target some individual students, either athletes or struggling with their fitness/self image and help to develop a way to reach their goals. Again a self measuring system that almost runs itself when combined with other apps.

  13. I think it would be great to pair the fitbit flex with a website such as 10000steps.org.au. Students could complete one of the challenges (great wall of china or east coast to west coast of Australia), using the fitbit to measure their steps. Would be a great way to promote physical activity amongst the class in a fun and competitive fashion. This would open up a multitude of discussions (why certain students are progressing along the task quicker than others, how does sleep impact on rate of activity?, what type of physical activity burns the most calories?) You could also have smaller prizes for calories burned etc. Would also work with junior classes as you could incorporate SOSE/geography along the way within the 10000 steps challenge. A great device for the PE classroom.

  14. This would be an amazing tool for my high school students!!!!

  15. I am the adviser of a middle school “striders club”. We walk and keep track of distance after school. It would be great to incorporate Fit Bit Flex into Striders.

  16. Thanks for the chance to win. As a K-8 teacher I think this would be a great resource for students to estimate the amount of steps I take as the teacher. Maybe the student with the closest guess gets to wear it for the next PE class.

  17. Very cool. I would love to use the device with our sports teams.

  18. I have been considering purchasing the fitbit device for months now and I am still a little skeptical. It’s a cool device and my students would definitely love it, but is it worth the money? The collection of data could dramatically enhance my students knowledge of personal fitness .

  19. I appreciate this review. I purchased a Jawbone up a few months back and like you say, the data can be quite useful. I suffered from very poor sleep patterns, my Jawbone allows me to change daily patterns and then see the effect on my sleep. In my case this has been a lifechanger.

    I can see application of these devices with a service such as Teemo for inter class challenges.

    But whichever device you choose, the simple benefits of having a smart alarm (where you are woken in a period of light sleep) and a sedentary alarm (which goes off at a time set by the user) are worth the purchase price.

  20. The fitbit flex looks like an awesome product with many advantages over the NIKE Fuel Band. It would allow a physical education teacher to really emphasize the amount of physical activity one gets in a day. Students could take turns with the device on a weekly rotation and develop a greater understanding of their activity patters and sleep patterns. This information would wonderfully accompany a nutrition unit and diet log that our students already do. The ability to compare your fitness data along side your nutritional data would really open the eyes of some students and give them a better understanding of where they stand. It could really have an impact and create some lifestyle changes for students. I would love to demo one and potentially get a half classroom set or full set to use with our Lifetime Wellness classes.

  21. This could be used in Improving Performance for Senior PDHPE where students are able to analyse their physical activity levels and sleep patterns. They could then talk about how this could be improved and perhaps apply the strategies and reuse the fit it flex. Could even use this for those students who don’t do enough in PE lessons and get them to critique their physical activity levels.

  22. Would be great for students to analyse concepts learnt in Unit 3 PE.

  23. Would be an awesome device to allow for students to identify what there activities levels are then if they are below recommendations develop fitness plans or a routine and compare results over a couple of weeks

  24. I agree with many of the other comments about the uses within the classrooms for monitoring, reviewing student or personal health etc – what about using it to assist those who may be struggling in the class, e.g., academically, students with ADD, those who suffer anxiety. This tool could be used to assist them to understand their condition. Sleep and exercise is as important as any drug which is often given to our young students to help regulate behavior, anxiety, depression and so on. Could be well worth a shot!

  25. Competition is motivating! It would be fun to create a school wide challenge with students & staff by using the Fitbit to monitor daily steps and sleep patterns.
    “What will they think of next?”

  26. The fitbit flex would help my physical education class go to the next level and greatly benefit my kids. I fight the fight every day to motivate my kids to exercise and become more aware of how active they are on a daily or weekly basis. But it is hard to compete with sedentary technology such as video games and Facebook. The fitbit flex would peak interest and possibly trick the kids into exercising and taking an ownership of their own health and wellbeing. What a great looking product that is geared towards health!

  27. Well done to Brendan Peace who is the winner of the Random Prize Draw.

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