Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Helps to Motivate Certain Fitness Routines

I recently got a Fitbit Zip as a present to keep track of how much I walk, hike, and run. This tiny, pink activity tracker, sometimes called a wearable, is easy to wear in a pocket, clipped onto a jacket or shoe, in your purse, etc. and does do its part to motivate you to go that extra step, mile, or hour!

The Skinny on the Fitbit Zip

Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
The Fitbit Zip tracks steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled and is only about the size of a quarter. It’s bareboned in terms of features, but perfect for someone (like me) who doesn’t want other features like sleep, altitude gain, etc. I’ve been wearing it as much as possible to show how long my typical walks or runs last, how far I go, and how many steps they include. It’s kind of fun to see how many steps you do in your day-to-day activities!

I learned it’s pretty accurate, too. A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania and published in JAMA found the Fitbit One and Zip to be very accurate, at least in the activities it is designed for. It didn’t work in Nordic skate skiing, however. It tracked about only half of the ski distance since it’s not stepping. It’s not supposed to work, so that’s okay. Fitbit trackers use a 3-axis accelerometer to understand your motions and it’s how it counts your steps. An accelerometer is a device that turns movement (acceleration) of a body into digital measurements (data) when attached to the body.

Another good thing about the Fitbit Zip is you don’t have to charge it since it runs on a small, watch battery. You will have to change it, though, so it comes with a small “key” to take the old battery out and replace it.

Fitbit Dashboard

I just got my Penguin March badge for completing 70 miles, which is the same distance an Emporer penguin walks to get to its breeding ground annually. Congratulations to me. It’s part of Fitbit’s Dashboard which helps you keep track of your activity with some motivational badges and optional community involvement.

Fitbit Zip Wireless Actitvity Tracker Dashboard

The Fitbit Zip wireless activity tracker’s dashboard shows data in graphs

You download the software and sync your Fitbit Zip wireless activity via a dongle in your USB port at least weekly. You can then look at the data in well-designed graphs and charts. The dashboard has other ways to track progress that are optional.

Are Fitness Wearables Like the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker Bad for Our Health?

Photo by Luis Hernan.

Wi-Fi signals surrounding a person on a smartphone. Luis Hernan.

We’re just beginning to learn about how smartphones and wireless Internet and devices can be bad for our health due to the electromagnetic fields (EMF) they emit.

PhD student Luis Hernan in Britain created a special instrument to show the Wi-Fi signals that surround us and objects. Seeing the wireless around us should give us pause to what we’re letting ourselves be exposed to and try to limit our exposure any way we can. Read more about this here.

So, is wearing a Fitbit Zip bad for you? At this point we should to err on the side of caution and not wear the Fitbit Zip too much. Or, perhaps it could still be a useful fitness tool if you just use it on a short-term basis to either get to know the steps, distance, and calories burned on your habitual outings. Or, possibly use it to reach a specific goal like losing weight or training for a race, etc.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you.

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