By Tracey Dowdy
Fitbit is so much more than just a step counter. If that’s all you’re looking for, save your money because your smartphone already does that. However, if you’re looking for a device to motivate you, challenge your friends, and better monitor your health, it’s a great option.
Fitbit is compatible with many of the fitness apps you’re already using, like MyFitnessPal, Weight Watchers, and Walkadoo. Syncing allows you to keep all the features you love best and ensures you have a comprehensive health and fitness information in the palm of your hand. Open the app, go to your settings, and follow the prompts to connect. There’s a complete list of compatible apps here.
Since nothing drives us more than a little friendly competition, Fitbit allows you to challenge your friends to “See who takes the most steps today” or “See who can get the most steps in this weekend.” Open the app, scroll to the bottom, select a challenge and ask up to ten people to join you.
If you find your battery is running down too quickly, turn off All Day Sync. Open the Fitbit app, select your device, and toggle off All Day Sync. Voila! Your battery won’t run down before you do. The downside is that you’ll now have to manually sync your device each time you open the app.
Are you right handed or left handed? Fitbit wants to know. You move your dominant hand more than the non-dominant one, so it’s important to let Fitbit know on which wrist you’re wearing your device. Open the Settings menu in the app, select Wrist, then Dominant or Non-Dominant to improve your Fitbit’s accuracy.
MobileTrack allows you to use your phone as a mobile tracker on days you forget to wear your Fitbit. Using your phone’s mobility sensors, you can still track your steps, distance and even the number of calories you’ve burned. To link, open the Fitbit app, go to Account, choose Set Up a Device, and select MobileTrack. Confirm your device is supported by Mobiletrack here.
Its Multi-Tracker Support feature will automatically switch modes when it detects you’re up and moving but your Fitbit is still sitting on your nightstand.
What’s the first thing you check on your Dashboard? The number of steps you took? The amount of water you drank? The fact that for once you said no to Netflix and got enough sleep? You can customize your dashboard so the stats most important to you are at the top of the list every time you open your app. On an Android phone, open the app, select the stat you want to move by touching and holding, then drag it to where you want it to be on your dashboard. If you don’t want to see it at all, drag the button to X to hide. On an iPhone, tap the Edit button and drag up or down the list. To hide a button, simply uncheck.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.