Time to throw away your notebooks, we recently launched a new free website feature to log your blood pressure! You can now use Fitbit.com to log your systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) pressure on a daily basis and we’ll graph this data for you. Tracking your BP is especially important if you have high blood pressure or have been diagnosed with hypertension, and is a principal vital sign (along with body temperature, respiratory rate and pulse).
Being able to easily view daily results can not only indicate how well blood pressure medication is working, but is also a good way for you to take part in actively managing your health. Combine BP logging with the Fitbit journal feature to keep notes on medication changes.
Looking for further motivation to keep your blood pressure under control? Check out the 120/80 Blood Pressure or less without Drugs group.
This week we launched a number of new features on Fitbit.com to help you work towards your activity and wellness goals. Many of the features we’ve released this week are the result of requests we’ve seen from users like you, so keep your suggestions coming! We’ve also launched a new premium membership with additional features to help analyze your activity, food and sleep to see results more quickly.
We are excited to continue to develop and release new product features for both free and premium users. As always, your data belongs to you, and you’ll always be able to enjoy a full-featured free account.
So let’s explore the new free features:
- Blood Glucose Trackers – by popular request, you can now track your blood glucose in the morning, afternoon and evening.
- Blood Pressure Tracker – Enter your readings and we’ll graph these over time for you
- Heart Rate Tracker – Track your resting, normal and exertive heart rates
- Custom Trackers – Choose a goal and track it. Trying to limit caffeine, increase push-ups, or decrease desserts per week? How about tracking the length of your commute to see how it affects your mood?
- Body Measurements - Body Measurements – Now you can add the measurements of your neck, waist, thigh, biceps and many more on the “Track my Weight” page.
You can find all the new trackers in the Tracker tab on Fitbit.com
And here’s a peek into the premium membership features, which offer additional analysis of YOUR data to keep you motivated and help you reach your wellness goals more quickly.
- Digital Trainer – Have you hit a plateau? The Fitbit Digital Trainer reviews your current activity level, and sets you on a 12 week plan fitness plan to gradually increase your movement.
- Benchmarking – Rank yourself against your peers. With benchmarking, you can see how your stats compare to others of similar age, gender or body type. With 4,736 combinations of settings to choose from, you’ll have lots to explore and motivate you.
- Trackers - Track anything your heart desires! Track more detailed data for heart rate and blood glucose, and add as many custom trackers as you like. Get creative!
- Reports – See in-depth analysis of your data. Access your personal reports to quickly identify changes for a healthier you. Reports provide in-depth analysis of your historical trends for sleep, food and activity.
Each of the premium features has a free trial period (no credit card required), so you can test the features with YOUR data – access a detailed activity report, sample our benchmarking tool, and test out the digital trainer, she’ll get you on a path to increased activity.
Want more info? Check our membership comparison chart or start exploring.
Looking to share your Fitbit stats with friends & family? Now it’s easy to let Fitbit post your daily or weekly steps to your Facebook Wall and share your success with your connections. It’s a great way to stay motivated, and we bet you’ll find the positive reinforcement from connections a great source of encouragement.
It’s easy to set up once, and we’ll take care it from there. Here’s the 411:
- Head over to your Share Stats page. You can get there from the Share Stats link directly under the profile photo on the home page.
- Use the Share on Facebook button to link your Facebook & Fitbit accounts
- Choose Daily or Weekly Sharing
Tweet Tweet! Using Twitter? We support that too! You can read more about Fitbit & Twitter in our Social Motivation post.
When you join Fitbit, the default goal we set for each member is the magical number of 10,000 steps a day (you can also choose to customize your goal). And while this may not be the first time you’ve heard that goal, it might be more meaningful, and motivating, to understand its origins.
The Japanese first started using the 10,000 steps a day number, as part of a marketing campaign! (to help sell pedometers). Since that initial campaign however, medical authorities around the world have agreed that 10,000 is a healthy number to aim for. The American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.
10,000 steps a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for disease and help you lead a longer, healthier life. The benefits are many: lower BMI, reduced waist size, increased energy, and less risk for Type II diabetes and heart disease. In fact, a recent study of the 10,000 steps a day method reported conclusive health benefits.
10,000 steps daily is approximately 5 miles. Unless you have a very active lifestyle or profession, you probably don’t reach 10,000 steps on a given day without putting some effort into your activity. This could be a lifestyle change such as walking to work, or the addition of an exercise routine to your day.
Another reason to do it? For most people, it’s convenient, free and simple to do with just a little change to your daily routine. Working towards a 10,000 step a day goal? Good for you! Get motivated with one of our Fitbit groups, like 5k-6k steps a day. Already mastered 10,000? Maybe Active Maintainers is for you.
Looking to add further motivation to your current routine or connect with others in a group goal? Then our new feature may be just what you’re looking for! We just launched Fitbit Groups, and there’s already a great selection to choose from including:
You can find all the groups in the Fitbit Community. It’s easy to join a group and connect with other group members. Introduce yourself to the group through the messaging platform and check your group leaderboards for friendly competition. Have a great idea for a group? Create one and invite your friends!
We’re looking forward to seeing all your tips to meet your personal activity and wellness goals. And we’ll publish the best of them here. Today’s favorite comment:
Just Noticed Groups Function Today
-Fitbit user Lil.bit.counts2
You can find the water logging tool on Fitbit.com under the Log Food page.
Most people are aware that water is an essential part of staying well and an overall healthy lifestyle, but how much water to drink, and why it’s so important, might not be quite as well known.
First off: why is water so important? Water makes up 60-70% of your overall body weight, and is crucial to many bodily functions. Just to name a few of water’s duties, water keeps your ears, nose and throat moist, flushes toxins out of your system, and carries nutrients to your cells. Water is also important in aiding digestion and metabolism.
It’s important to stay hydrated – mild dehydration can make you feel tired and lack energy. Ironically, dehydration can also cause water retention! Thirst is often also confused with hunger, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and for weight loss, some research even suggests drinking a glass of water before meals will help you feel full faster.
And how much water should you drink? The exact amount varies by individual – including one’s health, activity and geographic location. In general, most recommendations are at least 8-9 glasses per day, and generally enough that you rarely feel thirsty. One easy way to remember is the 8×8 rule. 8 glasses, 8 oz each – which is equal to just under 2 liters a day.
Additional water is required if you live in a hot, dry climate, or if you are overweight – typically, one additional glass for every 25 lbs. over your ideal weight. The International Sports Medicine Institute also offers a formula for calculating your individual water needs.
So don’t forget to fill up your water glass and your virtual glass on Fitbit.com.
We all know that sleep is important to re-charge our bodies, but it’s also a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight, energy and mood levels. And recent research reinforces this, with even more reasons to ensure a good night’s sleep. Monitoring your sleep & activity patterns is the first step to making positive changes.
One recent study showed our on the go lifestyles and trend of lower average sleeping hours may also be tied to the growing incidence of Type 2 diabetes. This study measured insulin sensitivity after a “good” night’s sleep (8 hours) and again after a “poor” night’s sleep (4 hours). Changes were noticed after just one night of poor sleep. Dr. Esther Donga, the lead author of the study speculated “The co-occurring rises in shortened sleep and diabetes prevalence may not be a coincidence. Our findings show a short night of sleep has more profound effects on metabolic regulation than previously appreciated.”
Another recent study found an increased risk of childhood obesity for children who don’t get adequate sleep. The relation was particularly strong for boys and young children. The study tracked over 700 young people monitoring how long they slept, self-reported sleep problems, and the foods & beverages they consumed. The shorter sleep durations were related to higher body mass index and also to the percentage of body fat.
Both good reasons to make sure you get your zzz’s.
We all have days where we wake up on the wrong side of the bed (or at least our significant others think so!), or hit the snooze button and skip the gym. Now you can track your mood, allergy level and generally record your daily observations with the new fitbit journal feature. And use the information you record to identify trends and correlate your sleep and mood with other factors that may be affecting your activity level.
You can start using your journal by choosing the Tracker tab followed by Journal. How to get started:
1. Have the “allergy blues”? It could be those pesky proinflammatory cytokines. Want to learn more? There’s been some interesting research relating allergies, depression and poor sleep.
2. While we can’t automagically detect your mood – it’s easy to record. Now how does that make you feel?
3. Or use the text field to enter other observations.
As always, you can make this information private (you only) or share with your friends or everyone.
Who wouldn’t want to lose weight more quickly, and have a better chance of keeping it off?
It’s as simple as keeping a food log.
Research such as a study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, shows that keeping a food log on a regular and consistent basis was a key factor in weight loss. Accountability and awareness were determined to be two of the key factors. Just as the display on the Fitbit Tracker does for activity – motivating you to increased levels with the ability to “gut check” yourself throughout the day.
We all know that food logging takes time, so we’ve added features (and look for more in the future!) to make food logging easier than ever.
A few of the ways we try to make food logging easier for you:
- We have a database of over 85,000 foods, and we’re adding more all the time, so it’s easy to find the exact food you were looking for. Don’t see it? Add it to our Food Suggestions Forum or add the nutrition information directly from the label by choosing “Add New Food” and we’ll add it for you.
- Make it a favorite! If you are anything like me, you might have a tendency to eat the same foods fairly consistently. Make a logged food a favorite by starring it and it’ll be at your fingertips every time you log food. Right now, I need coffee.
- If you are really consistent, create a meal and add instantly. Banana, coffee and peanut butter bagel every morning? No problem. Add it with the click of a mouse.
- Type ahead. Give us the first few characters of a food, and we’ll show you an array of choices to get you started.
- Logging all your food at the end of the day? You can easily drag & drop foods between meals if you forget to use the drop down.
- And don’t forget to fill your water glass!
A quick administrative note about the blog comments. We’re glad you are reading and participating with us on the Fitbit blog. But to keep the blog posts clean, we publish constructive or on-topic comments – and do our best to respond to specific questions via email. Many of you have commented with specific feature requests. We are rapidly releasing new features and definitely following the Feature Suggestions in the Fitbit Forums. While we can’t share our product development roadmap publicly, please know that we are listening and encourage your suggestions to make Fitbit even more useful for you!