If you were fortunate enough to activate a new Fitbit tracker over the holidays, welcome! Chances are you’re still getting to know your device, and that’s ok. Creating a Fitbit account opens you up to such a wealth of healthy things to do, track, and share that it can take a bit to get yourself fully acquainted. So here’s a little Fitbit help—12 subtle features you won’t want to miss.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR FITBIT EXPERIENCE
Create goals. Most Fitbit trackers allow you to set and adjust daily goal—such as activity, exercise, weight, hydration, food, and sleep targets— at anytime straight from your app [How to set goals]. Your daily progress towards these benchmarks can been seen on your dashboard. With certain devices, you can also set a “main goal”, which programs your tracker to alert you via lights and/or vibrations when you hit it. To see if your device has this capability, click on the “Account” icon in your Fitbit app, choose the device you’re using, click on “Main Goal” and choose one.
Customize your dashboard. The quick-glance tiles on your Fitbit dashboard aren’t set in stone. You can add, delete, edit and rearrange them from your app and fitbit.com so they best support your needs and goals.
Manually log activities. If you currently use a Fitbit One, Zip, Flex, or Charge, which don’t offer SmartTrack, or you’re doing an exercise that doesn’t require steps (indoor cycling, the elliptical) or involves complex, step-based movements (like tennis), manually logging the activity can improve the accuracy of this activity’s contribution to your caloric burn. It’s also a great option on days you forget your tracker at home. Here’s how to use manual tracking, as well as edit or delete automatic entries.
Get competitive. Want to compete against others? Create a group on fitbit.com and add friends. From there you can view the leaderboard to see how you rank against other members and have discussions. If your friends list is feeling thin, don’t worry: Soon you’ll be able to find other like-minded people through in-app groups.
Dive deep into your data. The detail screen you’re brought to when you click on a dashboard tile isn’t static either. For many, you can scroll through the top panel to see more data analysis and even get one-week, one-month, three-month, and one-year averages. You may also be able to click on the day-by-day stats that make up the rest of the screen to further investigate a specific day. This is where you can find information like sleep quality, your longest stationary period, how much time you spent in each heart rate zone, and more.
Share pictures. Have you ever seen someone share on social media cool pictures of their workout or screenshots of their dashboard, badges, or other accomplishments? You can do that, too—and straight from your Fitbit app! Here’s how to share your exercise, stats and accomplishments, Adventure landmarks, challenge results, and badges. Later this month sharing gets even easier with the launch of Fitbit Community.
Improve battery life. How long your tracker’s battery lasts depends on which device you have, your usage and settings, and other factors. Look up your device to learn specific ways that may help extend its battery life.
Set a bedtime reminder. Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of your ability to set a sleep schedule, but how about a bedtime reminder? Scheduling an alert that prompts you to start unwinding 30 minutes before your bedtime target can help you maintain a consistent sleep schedule, which experts say may benefit your health.
Log naps. If your tracker automatically detects sleep (all wrist-based Fitbit trackers do), then any nap you take that lasts longer than an hour will be saved in your sleep history. For anything shorter, you’ll need to manually log your sleep.
Wake up with a silent alarm. A gentler, more partner-friendly way to start the morning actually exists. Learn how to set a silent alarm that wakes you with vibrations, and then discover 13 other ways silent alarms can be helpful—you can set up to eight on every Fitbit tracker except Zip!
Request a weekly progress report. Curious how you’re doing or want to make sure you’re tracking towards your goals? You can opt into getting a weekly summary—that includes weekly totals, daily averages, badges earned, comparisons with friends, and more—within your notifications.
Sync with other apps. Do you ride with Peloton, sweat with Fitstar, stay organized with Amazon Alexa, or train your brain with Lumosity? These apps, and many more, can sync with your Fitbit account for easy data sharing. Take a look at all the apps currently compatible.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.