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Fitbit v. pedometer: Lazy Sunday

Monday, December 17, 2012

So yesterday I found my triaxial pedometer. I had been missing the pedometer for a few months (it was in the bag I thought it should be in, but in the wrong pocket.) This is a fancy pedometer, it doesn't count trips consisting of less than 4 steps, it has a separate mode displaying moderate to active steps, it has a seven day memory and fitness calories. It was around $40 when my husband got it for me to try and get me to walk more when I was pregnant, which is probably why I haven't appreciated it too much.

I was excited to get a fitbit, though I had started to wonder if it was any different from the pedometer since it is also based on triaxial motion detection, and I had a couple instances where I took steps I knew it hadn't counted, and one day it said I was sedentary when I was puttering around the kitchen. (I don't know if it counted the steps, only that the online tracker said I was sedentary. A trip to the ladies room doesn't usually take me out of the sedentary range either. So steps and activity level seem to be somewhat independent of each other.

Early this morning I posted a status that my fitbit tracked 40% more steps than the pedometer for the several hours I wore them yesterday evening. I got a lot of comments (6 is a lot for me) so I thought I'd expand it into a blog entry. That evening I spent several hours building furniture from IKEA, so it was exactly the kind of activity the smart pedometer was designed to ignore. This is considered a smart feature so you don't track bumpy car trips and stuff.

So I wore them both today to see what I got under less unusual conditions. My day today was going to church, fixing lunch, several trips to the basement, a sorely needed nap and a car trip to my mom's about an hour south. I didn't walk to church.

I checked the fitbit before and after the first leg of the car trip and didn't see any increase in steps, so from that I would guess the fitbit has been tuned well enough not to make up steps where there weren't any.

The final numbers for the day were:
Total steps: pedometer 2116 / fitbit 2943
Distance: pedometer 0.8 mi / fitbit 1.30 mi
Calories: pedometer 14 / fitbit 213 (maybe more like 173 after subtracting calories i would have burned being sedentary)
Activity: pedometer 75 steps moderate / fitbit 1 hr 40 min lightly active, 44 fairly active, 0 very active.

I will try again tomorrow, which should be a strength/5000 step day, with half those steps in the very active range. This has probably been my least active day since I got my fitbit, thanks to the two hours driving and the nap. But it's interesting. In terms of total calories, I would add the 14 calories from the pedometer to a BMR of 1778 for 1792, whereas the fitbit will land at about 1750 (it counts about one calorie per minute for being sedentary.)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nice statistics by pedometer. I have a one from http://www.prajwalhealthcare.com/wa
    lk-style-pd-09.html , but its features are limited.
    2009 days ago
    I asked for a fitbit for christmas. So i hope it is good if i get it of course. LOL
    2013 days ago
    I am a fitbit convert, like the tech side.

    I have owned halfway decent pedometers in the past, I think the fitbit is more accurate.
    2013 days ago
    I know my "better" pedometers are more accurate when I actually count my steps (count off in my head and compare). I've never owned a fitbit, I would love one but never have the $$.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
    2013 days ago
    Interesting comparison! I'd like to learn more about your pedometer, but at this point, I'll stick with my Fitbit for the same reason I stick with my scale...neither is perfect, but I can compare day-to-day.
    2013 days ago
    no one tool will be perfect I've owned other ped but for some reason the fit bit motivates me so I am sticking with it increasing steps slowly using as one of my many tools to increase my health best of luck to you
    2013 days ago
    I can't see spending money on a fitbit, but it's nice to know that for people who are willing to spend, it actually works.
    2013 days ago
  • NCSUE0514
    I definitely like my Fitbit!
    2013 days ago
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