Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
MnyGrl
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:44 pm
Location: DC

Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by MnyGrl » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:42 pm

If you have one of these and you are not running marathons or otherwise using it to measure performance, have you found it useful? I would like to keep better track of my daily activity as well as sleep patterns.

From past Boglehead posts, it looks like Garmins are the way to go. Any recommended models? Probably would not spend over $100.

Thanks!

corysold
Posts: 683
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:58 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by corysold » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:45 pm

I used to use a Fitbit to track my waking heart rate and daily steps. Was able to indicate illness and overtraining.

I've had two and both managed to break down at 14-15 months, just after the warranty. I liked the product, but I wasn't willing to keep replacing it every year and a half.

stoptothink
Posts: 4521
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:58 pm

Depends on if you will actually use the data...which most people simply don't. The available research regarding fitness trackers seems to suggest that they are not worth it for most people who buy them (as in, they actually tend to move/exercise less after buying them), but it all depends on the individual. I am a pretty serious athlete, but I've never really seen the need for data with my training, but I do know some people who actually use it.

User avatar
JPH
Posts: 810
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:56 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by JPH » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:02 pm

I use an inexpensive pendulum type pedometer. It is accurate. I wore it on a 2-mile course, and at the end it read 2.00 miles. I know that degree of accuracy is spurious, but no fit-bit could beat it either.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

daheld
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by daheld » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm

I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR. I am not an elite athlete, but do a mixture of weight training and light cardio. I was VERY skeptical of activity trackers, and I still think they're somewhat frivolous and silly. However, I'll say this: mine has genuinely helped me be more active. I have a goal of 10,000 steps and when my wrist vibrates, I am more accountable to get up and take a break from sitting in front of my computer.

All that said, I still don't know if I'd pay full price for one. My wife got mine through a wellness promotion at work for like $30.

User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 1951
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by GerryL » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm

I use my Fitbit mostly as motivation to get moving. If I've been sitting for a long time it prompts me to get up and move at least a bit each hour. I also look back over the week to see what my sleep pattern looks like.
I like having something on my wrist rather than in my pocket (if I have a pocket) or clipped to my clothing.

Rupert
Posts: 3808
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Rupert » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:09 pm

I've been a Fitbit user for years, and I find that it does motivate me to move more. Others may not need that motivation, but I do. Right now I'm wearing a Fitbit Charge HR which tracks steps by day and hour. You can set it to notify you if you haven't taken at least 250 steps over the last hour. It also monitors "active minutes," heartrate, sleep, and stairs climbed. You can enter diet and women's health data as well if you're interested in tracking that. You can also program it to remind you to relax from time to time. Note that the sleep monitoring is really movement monitoring. It can't possibly know if you're actually asleep. It just knows you're not moving like an awake person would move. The criticism about Fitbits breaking after a year or year-and-a-half I have found to be true. So I wouldn't spend much on one. I usually ask for them for Christmas presents, etc. I don't think I've ever actually paid for one. Also, I find that it does not accurately measure stairs climbed most of the time. There's something buggy with the altimeter sensor in the Charge HR. It's a known problem.

rj49
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:22 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by rj49 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:18 pm

I tried many, and the problem is that they are difficult to use, counting steps becomes monotonous (some count driving as steps too), and I bike a lot, which most have difficulty measuring simply. They are mostly ugly and too large, and require synching to special software, which becomes a pain, as well as charging.

I actually found the Apple Watch to be the easiest and best way to measure and motivate exercise. It has prominent rings on the watchface that urge 12 hours of daily standing, 30 minutes of exercise, and a changing level of moderate activity, which adjusts every week. It becomes a challenge and goal to close the rings, and it gives little nags and encouragement (which you can disable). They also give little rewards after completing daily and weekly and monthly goals. When I want to do a bike ride it only takes two clicks to start, and instead of steps it gives credit for yard work, gym work, and other things that keep things varied and interesting. On top of it all, it allows me to avoid picking up a phone when driving or anywhere in public, since texts and emails and phone calls show easily on the watch. I found it also helps lower stress with a built-in breathing app, which gives a minute or more of guided breathing exercise, ending with your heart rate--I use it in stressful situations to lower my heart rate. Finally, they have a helpful SOS function, so if you are having an emergency, you can press a button on the watch and it will summon emergency help for you, and apparently the newest version will notify you if you're having some heart abnormality, with a built-in EKG (the older ones will still notify you if you're heart rate is beyond a certain limit you set, which helps during stress or heavy exercise). The drawback is you need an iphone.

If you just want to track steps, though, both iphone and Android phones have built-in fitness tracking, which most people don't realize. It's under the health app on ios, Google Fit on Android, and there are plenty of other third-party apps that will do activity tracking through the phone. Some apps even profess to track sleep, but I believe require the phone in your bed or a perfectly quiet room. Instead of tracking sleep with devices, I find the best way to sleep better is to keep any devices or screens outside of the bedroom (except for a Kindle). If I'm tired, I get more sleep or have a nap or adjust bedding and room temperature--that's all the data I need.

User avatar
goingup
Posts: 3303
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:02 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by goingup » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:25 pm

I've worn my Fitbit Surge nearly every day for several years. I keep track of daily steps (goal is 10,000) and daily active minutes. I keep an eye on resting heart rate, too. The watch itself is great with big numbers for time and date. I can read texts on it too. The app on my smart phone displays daily and weekly stats in a easy to read format. Don't care to monitor sleep. Can't sleep with a watch on!

I don't recall the price, but it was at least a few hundred. It's been very helpful for me to get in better shape. One of the best purchases I've made in the last 5 years. :happy

victw
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:07 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by victw » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:47 pm

I've worn a relatively inexpensive pedometer since 2011. I'm on my 4th one - they quit working at some point.

I've had a fit bit. It popped off - I didn't have it for more than a year. The bands are supposed to be better now.
I don't think I would spend that much again - since I'm not sure about reliability. I did learn some interesting information about my sleep patterns - but I don't need to continue monitoring them.

The cheapest pedometers aren't so accurate. This is the brand I've liked.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3 ... UTF8&psc=1

It gives a 7 day history - which tells me if the trend is staying steady or moving in a bad direction.

I think a history of movement can be helpful. Depends what you are trying to accomplish whether more bells and whistles will help.
Vic

Tribonian
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:33 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Tribonian » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:37 pm

Love my Garmin; I upgrade about every 3 product cycles. Current one not only gives heart rate 24/7 and steps but stairs. Also sleep data, pulse oximeter, barometer, sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moon set. Will rebroadcast texts and alerts from phone discreetly to watch face and also has about 20 hours of music and maps of N. America.

runner3081
Posts: 1718
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:39 pm

My old LG G Watch is worth its weight in gold, but not for the reason you think.

At work, we have security protocols on our phones. The smartwatch allows me to unlock my phone with a swipe, while in connectivity range. Otherwise, I would have to enter a 6-digit pin every time I wanted to unlock it.

User avatar
tuningfork
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:30 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by tuningfork » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:02 pm

I bought a Fitbit Alta HR early this year. It's a mixed bag, and I'm somewhat disappointed. The hourly reminder to move comes at the same time each hour even if you're currently active, so for me it's just a "it's 10 minutes before the hour" notification. There are plenty of times when 10 minutes before the hour is not the right time for me to interrupt what I'm doing to take a walk. I would much rather have something that detects that I've been idle and nags me to become active.

I was doing well meeting or exceeding many of my fitness goals for much of the year, but for various reasons I've not been as active the last 2 months. I'm disappointed that the Fitbit app doesn't nag me about that. There's just a tiny little downward-pointing arrow that says I accomplished X less than last week. While I can dig into the graphs to see that I haven't been meeting my goals, I expected something a little more proactive, especially if I've been consistently missing goals.

Example: I started out 15 lbs above my weight goal, and over a few months steadily worked that down to about 7 lbs to go. Now I'm back to 15 lbs above the goal, and all Fitbit does is tell me "good job, you're only 15 lbs away from your goal" as though I started at 40 lbs. The direction is wrong, it should be waving red flags at me, not congratulating me.

It counts so many things as steps that are not steps that I can't really trust the step counts. I do understand some of the technical issues around this but I wish it were more accurate. Example: while sitting at my desk, I tend to rock in my chair a little. Yesterday I hit my 10K step goal (first time in 3 weeks) while I had been sitting at my desk for an hour. Rock-a-bye baby! I've also hit my step goal while chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

I do like that it tells me my resting heart rate. I never knew it was as low as it is. When I was trying to understand a medical issue I was able to tell my doctor what my heart rate was at the time. I'm ok with the sleep tracking too.

When my Fitbit dies (predicted to occur in the next 6 to 10 months based on accounts here) I will probably try a Garmin or something else to see if I can get more of what I want.

krafty81
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:01 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by krafty81 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:26 pm

daheld wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR. I am not an elite athlete, but do a mixture of weight training and light cardio. I was VERY skeptical of activity trackers, and I still think they're somewhat frivolous and silly. However, I'll say this: mine has genuinely helped me be more active. I have a goal of 10,000 steps and when my wrist vibrates, I am more accountable to get up and take a break from sitting in front of my computer.

I have one too and love it. Can't beat Garmin for customer service and the watch works great for swim, bike,run, which is what I do. Also good indoor functionality.

User avatar
Flobes
Posts: 997
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:40 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Flobes » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:24 pm

Santa brought me a Fitbit Alta HR last year.

It's still in the box.

bluelight
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by bluelight » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:43 pm

GerryL wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
I use my Fitbit mostly as motivation to get moving. If I've been sitting for a long time it prompts me to get up and move at least a bit each hour. I also look back over the week to see what my sleep pattern looks like.
I like having something on my wrist rather than in my pocket (if I have a pocket) or clipped to my clothing.
Same reason I wear my Fitbit Alta daily. I purchased it shortly after it came out after using the pocket Fitbit for awhile (hubby still uses the pocket fitbit). It helps to keep me motivated and to get up from my desk during the day. When it breaks some day, I'll gladly buy another one.

KlangFool
Posts: 10678
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:11 pm

OP,

1) My employer pays for new wearable every year. I have a FitBit Alta HR. I may get an IWatch next year.

2) I use my FitBit to make sure that I have 10,000 steps every day.

3) My employer pays me for all the steps. I use the reward to earn about $100 to $200 of Amazon gift card every year

KlangFool

mountaingoatcos
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:11 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by mountaingoatcos » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:16 pm

I use Amazfit bip that cost $60. It is not the greatest device but it looks pretty nice, it has GPS, and allows you to track your cycling, running, hiking and you're step count every day. it has some other smartwatch features such as wether, a compass, a timer, altimeter, forwards messages from your phone etc. The battery lasts about a month between charges which is awesome. It is shorter if you use the GPS though but on a regular basis it is great for sleep tracking because you almost never have to charge it.

I don't know of any other watch at that price point that lasts as long as it does between charges. Again I could list several bad things about it but for the price and all the good things that has I think it is a great device overall.
I tend to get 10000 steps a day as well and it encourages me to move.

logos
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:47 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by logos » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:26 pm

I have a garmin Fenix. I’m not a sufficiently capable athlete or training for anything in particular where the data helps me track or learn anything. But, I find it fun and that the tracking motivates me to actually go and work out, even if it’s not strictly necessary.

AlphaLess
Posts: 1053
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:38 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by AlphaLess » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:02 am

A $150 FitBit (Charge HR 2 or whatever) is worth it BIG TIME.

By far the best investment I have made in the last 10 years.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

RickBoglehead
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:04 am

If a device has a 1 year warranty and dies shortly thereafter, any credit card would have provided an extra year warranty to replace it. Citi adds 2 years.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
djpeteski
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by djpeteski » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:47 am

So I would ask you to define "non-athlete", from your brief post I would tend to put you in the "recreational athlete" category, and can therefore benefit from a fitness tracker.

For me, I have the Garmin 920XT, that I pretty much paid full price for, and love it. Would I like something better, yes, but this is suitable for my needs. One of the overriding benefits of the Garmin is that I have a group at work who have them and we all enter into a weekly step challenge, and sometimes a bike challenge.

I have found myself being driven by my watch to walk more, and sometimes run more.

So if you are the kind of guy that runs a couple of organized 5k's per year, then I can highly recommend a fitness tracker, and I really like my Garmin.

Someone said they like the Apple watch better. The charging of the Apple watch would kill me, my wife has to charge her's every night. I charge my Garmin once every 10 days or so.

Rupert
Posts: 3808
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Rupert » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:33 am

I only have to charge my Fitbit once a week, if that's important to you, OP.

User avatar
jadd806
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:34 pm
Location: New England

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by jadd806 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:46 am

Fitbits are junk. Most owners seem to be on an annual replacement schedule. They're also overpriced for the features offered. I had some hope for the company when they acquired Pebble's IP, but so far they've put none of it to good use.

I have an Amazfit Bip (usually $80, but frequently goes on sale for $60). It's better than most smart watches 3 times its cost. I find it useful for many things other than the fitness tracking. The watch face is fully customizable and there's thousands of free options made by the community. At a glance on my wrist, I have:

- Time, date, and day of the week
- Current temperature and general daily forecast including high and low temps
- Steps taken today including distance travelled
- Heart rate monitor

I also use it for notifications and alarms. Nice to get woken up by a gentle vibration as opposed to a blaring alarm on my phone. It's also useful for incoming phone calls/texts since sometimes I don't feel the phone vibrate in my pocket (always keep it on silent), but I always feel the wrist notification.

Oh, and the battery lasts for 30-45 days thanks to the transflective display.

carolinaman
Posts: 3329
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by carolinaman » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:46 am

My wife has bought me fitbit and a MS similar product. I exercise every day but find these things useless, at least for me. I do not need to track every step I take or what my BP was. I do use the heart rate on gym machines but even that is unnecessary for my workouts. I do periodically check my BP, but that is not a problem for me. I am admittedly old school and just do not get these devices for the average person unless they have cardiovascular issues.

helloeveryone
Posts: 204
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:16 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by helloeveryone » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:48 am

I use a garmin (forerunner 225) - things I like about it
1) tracking my hikes (~1 a week) - I get average pace per mile, average HR and max HR, elevation, time in different heart rate zones. It’s kind of fun having that extra data. Doesn’t change what I do though.
2) I turn it on when I work out to track my heart rate - again -just fun to know

By using it every time I work out or hike I track my workouts for the week/month. Self motivating to see the calendar with green lines whenever I workout.

It does track sleep/steps/calories burned but I don’t care too much for those functions.

I am not an athlete.I actually bought it a long time ago to motivate me to start running/jogging because I didn’t like doing those things. I still don’t like doing those things and therefore hike and lift weights for exercise. I fast walk on the treadmill for indoor cardio at an incline.

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3185
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Rob5TCP » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:52 am

I've been using the Fitbit ZIP and Charge 2 for several years. The zip is very accurate for step counts (10k per day). I use the charge for sleep tracking. The charge 2 is NOT that accurate for counting steps; sometimes off by 25% or more.

I do find them motivating and find I do more when I am tracking.

stoptothink
Posts: 4521
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:59 am

jadd806 wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:46 am
Fitbits are junk. Most owners seem to be on an annual replacement schedule. They're also overpriced for the features offered. I had some hope for the company when they acquired Pebble's IP, but so far they've put none of it to good use.
My employer has a corporate relationship with Fitbit, we get a significant discount on their products (~50% off MSRP) and our corporate wellness program is centered around the data collected by the devices. Despite being a high level athlete, I do not use an activity tracker (or use data of any kind for my training) but most of my colleagues have gone through several Fitbits since the program started 2yrs ago. I hear nothing but bad things about the reliability, durability, and functionality of their products.

daheld
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by daheld » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:29 am

krafty81 wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:26 pm
daheld wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR. I am not an elite athlete, but do a mixture of weight training and light cardio. I was VERY skeptical of activity trackers, and I still think they're somewhat frivolous and silly. However, I'll say this: mine has genuinely helped me be more active. I have a goal of 10,000 steps and when my wrist vibrates, I am more accountable to get up and take a break from sitting in front of my computer.

I have one too and love it. Can't beat Garmin for customer service and the watch works great for swim, bike,run, which is what I do. Also good indoor functionality.
Has yours recently started miscalculating the flights of stairs you take? I have a goal of 10 flights per day, and on days I get like 3 flights in it will say I have 3x my goal--30 flights. Other than climbing the statue of liberty I've probably never gotten anywhere near 30 flights.

User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 11942
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:35 am

daheld wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR. I am not an elite athlete, but do a mixture of weight training and light cardio. I was VERY skeptical of activity trackers, and I still think they're somewhat frivolous and silly. However, I'll say this: mine has genuinely helped me be more active. I have a goal of 10,000 steps and when my wrist vibrates, I am more accountable to get up and take a break from sitting in front of my computer.
This is my situation as well. Garmin Vivosmart HR.

It absolutely DOES motivate me to get my 10,000 steps each day. In fact, one time I forgot to put it back on in the morning after charging it the night before, I was quite upset, because none of those steps I took that day "counted". :)

Battery lasts a long time, like a week plus, by the way.
The J stands for Jay

Texanbybirth
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:36 am

I love my FitBit Charge 2. Okay actually, sometimes I hate it like after a run it will suddenly stop taking my heart rate. I think that's because I'm sweaty (I'm not an elite athlete, as I'm guessing 99.99% of BHs aren't either, but I do sweat a lot) after the run, so I give it a pass for that. Usually only takes <30 seconds to get back to tracking the HR. The sleep tracking is wonderful, and the battery life is amazing. I will never buy an Apple Watch that I'd have to charge every day or two, now that I've experienced near-week long battery life.

(I've never had any issue with tracking footsteps or stairs. It has a weird quirk that made it totally useless for my wife: FitBit explicitly states it won't work while pushing strollers or holding kiddos. That makes it unusable for her on almost all days.)

daheld
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by daheld » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:48 am

HomerJ wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:35 am
daheld wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:06 pm
I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR. I am not an elite athlete, but do a mixture of weight training and light cardio. I was VERY skeptical of activity trackers, and I still think they're somewhat frivolous and silly. However, I'll say this: mine has genuinely helped me be more active. I have a goal of 10,000 steps and when my wrist vibrates, I am more accountable to get up and take a break from sitting in front of my computer.
This is my situation as well. Garmin Vivosmart HR.

It absolutely DOES motivate me to get my 10,000 steps each day. In fact, one time I forgot to put it back on in the morning after charging it the night before, I was quite upset, because none of those steps I took that day "counted". :)

Battery lasts a long time, like a week plus, by the way.
I turned off the feature that automatically makes the screen light up when you raise your arm. I have to tap the watch face twice (or so the manual says; sometimes it's like 8 times) to make the screen light up. Overall I like it, but it's not without bugs.

niceguy7376
Posts: 2167
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:59 pm
Location: Metro ATL

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:59 am

We were with HUmana ins through employer for a long time. They introduced Go365 feature on some of their employer plans since 2017. We didnt notice that (small company and they emailed us about the features but we didnt notice it last year) this year. If we have any of the selected devices on their list and we let them access the data (humana gets from our fitbit), they reward us based on the steps that we take daily. Every 1k step is one point and there are certain other activities that earn points.

Based on point levels, we can get premium discount when we reach certain status. That is at employer level.
For employees, those points can be converted to gift cards.

User avatar
MnyGrl
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:44 pm
Location: DC

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by MnyGrl » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:06 am

Thanks so much for all your replies. I am leaning towards the Garmin VivoSmart--it gets good reviews and is around $80.

Like many of you, I'm not an athlete but need reminders to get up from my desk and move around. I'm pretty sure I take the 10,000 recommended steps a day, but it would be motivating to see that on a screen and "get credit" for them. :D

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3185
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Rob5TCP » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:37 am

Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:36 am
I love my FitBit Charge 2. Okay actually, sometimes I hate it like after a run it will suddenly stop taking my heart rate. I think that's because I'm sweaty (I'm not an elite athlete, as I'm guessing 99.99% of BHs aren't either, but I do sweat a lot) after the run, so I give it a pass for that. Usually only takes <30 seconds to get back to tracking the HR. The sleep tracking is wonderful, and the battery life is amazing. I will never buy an Apple Watch that I'd have to charge every day or two, now that I've experienced near-week long battery life.

(I've never had any issue with tracking footsteps or stairs. It has a weird quirk that made it totally useless for my wife: FitBit explicitly states it won't work while pushing strollers or holding kiddos. That makes it unusable for her on almost all days.)
The reason Fitbit Charge 2 (and other wrist worn devices) are useless for pushing a stroller; it depends on precise and steady arm motions. So, walking & running should be fine (though mine can be up to 25% off for whatever reason). A hip worn device will pickup steps with or w/o arm motion.

Radjob4me
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:08 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Radjob4me » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:57 am

I'd second the Apple Watch (or perhaps other brand if you don't have an iPhone). My wife had a non-watch tracker like a fitbit and never used it. But last Christmas we both got the cheapest Apple watch and we both love it for its combination of a watch, fitness tracker as well as being able to do other things like see texts or phone numbers with having to look at your phone when its in your pocket/purse, etc...

We can share our exercise data - and occasionally taunt each other when we see the other person has been sitting around all day... It also has other nice features like being able to "ping" your phone when you misplace it, etc... My battery lasts for two days. I usually just charge it next to my bed with my phone each night.

bloom2708
Posts: 5012
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:05 am

I don't use all the features on my Samsung GearFit 2, but it is a very informative device.

Here are the things I use:

1. After 50 minutes of inactivity it tells me so and I go for a walk
2. It accurately counts my steps (no bonus steps for swinging arms only) - goal 10,000 steps each day
3. It accurately counts floors climbed - goal 20 floor climbed each day
4. It randomly checks my pulse/heart rate
5. It gives me a sleep score every night - based on restless, light and motionless and total sleep time
6. It gives me a weekly summary of all activities and sleep each week.
7. Calls and texts and other notifications from my phone display on my GearFit
8. It is an old fashioned watch

All this from a relatively inexpensive ($150 is what I paid) compact/sleek device.

Yes, they can be very valuable for a non-athlete. The hardest part is picking the right one. I use my Samsung GearFit 2 (Pro is the new model) with an iPhone 8. It crosses platforms quite nicely.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

themesrob
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by themesrob » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:47 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:37 am
Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:36 am
I love my FitBit Charge 2. Okay actually, sometimes I hate it like after a run it will suddenly stop taking my heart rate. I think that's because I'm sweaty (I'm not an elite athlete, as I'm guessing 99.99% of BHs aren't either, but I do sweat a lot) after the run, so I give it a pass for that. Usually only takes <30 seconds to get back to tracking the HR. The sleep tracking is wonderful, and the battery life is amazing. I will never buy an Apple Watch that I'd have to charge every day or two, now that I've experienced near-week long battery life.

(I've never had any issue with tracking footsteps or stairs. It has a weird quirk that made it totally useless for my wife: FitBit explicitly states it won't work while pushing strollers or holding kiddos. That makes it unusable for her on almost all days.)
The reason Fitbit Charge 2 (and other wrist worn devices) are useless for pushing a stroller; it depends on precise and steady arm motions. So, walking & running should be fine (though mine can be up to 25% off for whatever reason). A hip worn device will pickup steps with or w/o arm motion.
this is not entirely accurate -- Fitbit itself states that the devices may somewhat undercount steps when holding onto a stroller or shopping cart, but the accelerometer/algorithm is designed to detect movement consistent with steps despite lack of arm movement. (https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/ ... ticle/1141
https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/ ... ublished=1)

anecdotally, on long hikes/walks where I am gripping backpack straps for periods without swinging my arms, I have noticed no discrepancy.

also anecdotally, I like my wife's apple watch better than my fitbit, and might change over soon.

squirm
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by squirm » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:48 pm

I've been going to gyms and exercising my whole life, never had a need for these things, always thought they're just a fad.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:24 pm

It is well worth it for non athletes. It is for motivation. Non athletes are non athletes because they have no motivation. You need to get one and use it if that could be your beginning source of motivation to exercise.
If you cannot at least try it, then you already are using excuses to sidestep any exercise or motivation to start doing so.

dave_k
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by dave_k » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:03 pm

Why not use it to measure performance?

I've been using a Garmin when running for several years. Before that I only had a vague idea how fast I was going, and no idea if I was improving. I started pushing myself harder and could see the improvement once I got the Garmin. I don't consider myself an athlete, although I did start occasionally entering local races once I improved. I probably wouldn't have bothered had I never gotten it, and I'm in better shape because of it.

User avatar
randybobandy
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by randybobandy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:39 pm

I have a garmin and find it motivating to track progress. I'm approaching the point of enjoying running, but until that happens I find my competitive side enjoys seeing what, if amy, progress I am making.

krafty81
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:01 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by krafty81 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:35 am

dave_k wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:03 pm
Why not use it to measure performance?

I've been using a Garmin when running for several years. Before that I only had a vague idea how fast I was going, and no idea if I was improving. I started pushing myself harder and could see the improvement once I got the Garmin. I don't consider myself an athlete, although I did start occasionally entering local races once I improved. I probably wouldn't have bothered had I never gotten it, and I'm in better shape because of it.
Same for me - I use it to get faster swim. bike or run. No way to tell otherwise.

quantAndHold
Posts: 2046
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:38 am

I have a Garmin. Vivosport, I believe. I use it to track resting heart rate (I have a tendency to overtrain), activity minutes, and performance when I’m biking and running. It also makes it really easy to track gym workouts. I ignore the step counter, because I really don’t care, although it seems reasonably accurate.

I turned off the display for the stair counter because the stupid thing cannot tell when I’m climbing stairs. I went on a hike the other day where I climbed 388 steps (I counted). It gave me credit for 2 flights of stairs. My wife’s Vivosmart correctly decided she’d climbed 35 flights. Yesterday I was unloading the motorhome and carrying the contents up a flight of stairs into the house. The Garmin thinks I went down 38 flights of stairs, and up...1.

Post Reply