Fitbit bracelets bring exercise to the wrist

Hilary Finlayson sports her Fitbit while traveling on a study abroad in Germany. Finlayson said wearing her Fitbit helped increase her physical activity. (Hilary Finlayson)
Hilary Finlayson sports her Fitbit while traveling on a study abroad in Germany. Finlayson said wearing her Fitbit helped increase her physical activity. (Hilary Finlayson)

In the ’80s it was the fanny pack; in the ’90s it was the choker necklace; and at the start of the century it was the gaucho pant. Now, the latest fashion trend is the Fitbit, a personal fitness tracker.

Fitbit Inc. is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company sells bracelets in three different fitness categories: everyday, active and performance. The bracelets come in a variety of different colors and accessories can be purchased separately. The bracelets also include a wireless “base station” that can be plugged into any computer and synced with the website, to give users a visual of the information the bracelet is tracking.

“I originally got the Fitbit because my parents have been using Fitbit for over six months now,” said Rick Millet, a BYU student majoring in economics. “When I was home for break my dad casually showed me some of the features, and when he pulled up the graphs and historical data I was intrigued.”

The fitness trackers are quite a novelty right now, and contain several features in one small, wearable device. The Fitbit can track the user’s steps, sleep patterns and weight loss.

Millett, who owns a Fitbit Charge, has found that his favorite feature isn’t the calorie or step tracker, it’s the silent alarm.

“The Charge has a feature where I can set an alarm on my phone and have my Fitbit wake me up by vibrating,” he said. “I never have to worry about my roommates getting mad at me for my alarms being too loud. I even take more naps on campus knowing that I can set a silent alarm.”

The Fitbit bracelet increases the amount of sleep Millett gets each day.

But for most people, the Fitbit increases physical activity, as wearers aim to meet their daily goals for steps.

Hilary Finlayson used her Fitbit on a trip abroad and found that wearing the bracelet increased her overall physical activity.

“I loved my Fitbit because I was held accountable to someone or something,” Finlayson said. “I hated it if I didn’t reach my daily goal and would find myself never taking the elevator and walking the long way just to get more steps. It subconsciously increased my activity.”

For all the features the bracelet includes, it is rather sleek.

“I’ve been wanting a smart health watch that isn’t clunky,” said Royce Hackett, a BYU student studying applied statistics and analytics. “The Fitbit charger HR seemed to have the most features and still be sleek and stylish.”

While some may not find the bracelets to be the most attractive accessory, they are small and rather inconspicuous.

“It is not really that attractive, but it is not too noticeable if you wear long-sleeved shirts,” said Brian Pendleton, a supervisor at BYU Independent Study.

Millett doesn’t mind the appearance of the Fitbit but has found one minor problem with the bracelet.

“I don’t mind the look at all. It’s got a little problem with functionality in that I can’t give anybody a hug without it getting stuck in their hair,” he said.

However, he doesn’t let that stop him.

“My girlfriend hates it. Not enough to make me get rid of the Fitbit though.”

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