The Fitbit app is a free app that can be used with just your phone or in conjunction with a Fitbit wearable device. Using the app without a wearable device allows users to track steps, distance, calories burned, and female health. The Smartphone app combined with a Fitbit wearable device allows users to track much more.

My experience using the Fitbit Flex2 device has allowed me to track daily activity, step count, distance, sleep, and allows me to manually input my water consumption, weight, and create a food log. Having something similar to a wristwatch, but with the intention for me to be able to track information about my health, has also helped remind me to make healthier choices throughout the day. There is also an option to enable a feature that causes your device to vibrate – bringing your attention periods of inactivity and reminding you to stay active.

More comprehensive devices have features that track heart rate, and sleep stages (light, deep, and REM). I think that these features would be a great asset for nurses looking to optimize their often irregular sleep habits, and further monitor their well-being, which as healthcare providers often in high stress environments is crucial for the longevity of our careers and our health and wellness.

Additional features vary by device, and include swim tracking, detailed cardio fitness levels, fitness coaching, call and text notifications, and you can even make payments using the tap feature on the Versa and Ionic models.  Prices range $69.95-$399.95 depending on the device. For device comparisons and more information on what device best suits your lifestyle visit the Fitbit website here.

Dashboard – The Fitbit Dashboard is the main page of the app, and it was nice to be able to customize it based off of my personal health and fitness interests and goals. Steps, distance, calories, and minute’s of moderate activity are all reflected on the top of the dashboard, and additional data on water and food consumption, exercise, weight loss, sleep, and female health can be viewed and tracked by clicking on the boxes below. The dashboard is comprehensive, but easy to navigate making it perfect for any nurse with a busy schedule.

Challenges – A few of my friends have their own Fitbit devices, and we always sign up for the workweek hustle challenge. This challenge has been great, because even if you have a lazy day, you can always make up for it the other 4 days of the week and come out on top! It has also been motivating, because my friends and I often have step counts that are very close, which often motivates me to go for a walk instead of watching TV or surfing the internet. 

Sleep Dashboard – The sleep dashboard is great, because it not only shows me how long it took for me to fall sleep, but how long I was wrestles or awake during the night. It has been cool to see how having a wrestles sleep has affected my energy levels some mornings, and it has made me more aware, and curious to identify reasons that I may not be getting a good sleep. On one occasion after playing volleyball late at night, the app informed me that part of the reason I may have had an abnormally wrestles sleep the night before was likely due to exercising right before bed. I think this app would be great for nurses to better understand their sleep habits, and possibly even identify a need for changes in the way we think about and manage their sleep.    

For more information about the fitbit app as well as their product, visit their website at: https://www.fitbit.com/en-ca/home