History of the Technology
In today's society, the new trend is wearing technology on your wrist. The Fitbit, a tracker that electronically keeps track of how many steps a person walks in a day, is no exception. But the technology behind the Fitbit is not new. Before the Fitbit, there was the pedometer.
"Some sources trace the history of the pedometer back to sketches made by Leonardo da Vinci. The Swiss watchmakers who invented the self-winding watch are credited with coming up with the basic, motion-sensitive mechanism inside." (Harvard Health Publications, 2009) Even Thomas Jefferson, the United States' third president, promoted and introduced the public to the device in the early 1800's, and saw the importance of walking for health reasons (Essex, 2014).
A Pedometer (Image via: http://www.wisegeek.org/)
The history of the Fitbit technology is a little less complicated. The Fitbit was created by co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman in 2007 in San Francisco, California (Hof, 2014). What began as a startup has grown to a company that had a reported revenue of $1.86 billion in 2015, according to their website. (Fitbit, 2016)
Fitbit Co-Founders: Eric Friedman (left) and James Park (right) (Image via www.wired.com)
With the United States facing an obesity epidemic, the Fitbit combines technology and fitness and encourages users to go out and exercise. The Fitbit lets users set daily goals and challenge friends which makes exercising more enjoyable and helps users be healthier and live more active lives. It has made exercising fun again.
POSTIVE IMPACT OF THE FITBIT on Users & Society
Can Aid Sleep
Many Americans have trouble with their sleep patterns. The Fitbit can help. "Fitbit sleep tracking can measure many things. The steps you take are easily tracked and stored, and it’ll know when you’re sleeping and also when you’re tossing and turning too. When you haven’t moved for an hour or more, it is safe to assume you would be sleeping." (Humphreys, 2016) This allows users to easily track their sleep and find ways they can improve the quality of their sleep and overall health.
Helps Users Get Recommended Amount of Exercise
As a Fitbit user getting your steps in everyday encourages you to walk. And according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, those steps can benefit your overall health. "The agency recommends adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, such as brisk walking. To meet the CDC's recommendation, you need to walk about 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day." (Rettner, 2014) With the Fitbit's recommendation of setting a goal of 10,000 a user actually goes above the recommendation from the CDC.
Makes Exercising Fun
Since the Fitbit allows you to compete against friends and family to see who has been the most active and has the most steps, it makes exercising less of a task and more of a game. The daily goals which includes getting 30 minutes of active minutes, 10,000 steps, 10 flights of stairs, and walking at least 5 miles will help encourage people to walk and stay active.
A man using his Fibit. (Image via: https://blog.fitbit.com/)
Fitbit alone won't solve America's obesity problem, but it can and has helped. This technology encourages users to go out and exercise and walk. It makes getting your recommended 10,000 steps more enjoyable and helps users set realistic goals that they can accomplish on a daily basis. It also allows people to track their food consumption and how they sleep. This device also brings people together and bonds them over a common goal and promotes healthy competition. And while the actual numbers on the Fitbit may not be entirely accurate, it is more about being active than just a number. Some may say why do you need a device when you could just go out and exercise, but its the goals you set that push you to do something and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Changing your lifestyle can be hard, but the Fitbit can make it easier.
Essex, Matt. "Stepping in Time: A Brief History of Wearables | ActiveRx." ActiveRx. ActiveRx, 30 Dec. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
"Fitbit Reports $712M Q415 and $1.86B FY15 Revenue; Guides to $2.4 to $2.5B Revenue in FY16." Fitbit, Inc. Fitbit, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
Hof, Robert. "How Fitbit Survived As A Hardware Startup." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
Humphreys, Jo. "Med Health Daily." Med Health Daily. Med Health Daily, 02 Jan. 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
Publications, Harvard Health. "Counting Every Step You Take - Harvard Health." Harvard Health. Harvard Health, Sept. 2009. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
Rettner, Rachael. "The Truth About '10,000 Steps' a Day." LiveScience. Purch, 7 Mar. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.