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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

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Several colors available. I got mine in black.
Several colors available. I got mine in black. (Photo: fitbit.com)

Fitness and my Fitbit Flex

Welcome to Healthy Living Week at OnMilwaukee.com! The resolutions are made, now the real work begins. But we're here to help get you – and keep you – on track with stories about medicine, diet, exercise, spiritual and emotional health, and more. Healthy Living Week is brought to you by Pairdd: easy gluten-free cooking at your fingertips.

I like to ask Santa for something that I probably wouldn't ever break down and buy for myself. Since I've long been intrigued by the various fit bands on the market, I did a little research and added the Fitbit Flex to my Christmas list.

Come Christmas morning, my wish was granted. Thanks, Santa. And, during Healthy Living Week, I'm here to tell you that I shouldn't have waited so long to get this fit band. 

I love the thing. It does basic sleep tracking, step recording, distance traveled and minutes active calculations, calorie counting, water consumption monitoring (if you input the data) and more. Plus, more than any of the other bands that I looked at it looks and feels great. So simple, sleek and not futuristic looking. Fitbit Flex isn't quite "fashionable," but it's highly functional, flat and attractive. 

At about $100, it's a deal, too. I don't need a device to get me to work out or move more, but having it has helped me bench mark and be more attentive to the days that I need to walk or run more. I've kept the step goal on the very easy to use iPhone app at 10,000 and get mad when I don't achieve it. I've actually taken a few late night walks just to make sure that I reach the goal. The band blinks and vibrates when you hit your goals too, so that's kind of cool. 

As for the how to? Out of the box, it's a breeze. Download the app, enter your basic stats (height, weight, age, etc.), choose the large or small band, place it on your non dominate wrist and go about your day. Tap it gently to see how far you are to your goal(s).  Five lights mean you're there.  Or, of course, sync via bluetooth to your phone to see more detailed information and chart day-to-day progress.  And, when you go to bed, just tap it very quickly several times and two of the lights will look like tiny eyes and go to sleep. Fitbit Flex monitors restlessness and motion, and provides a fairly accurate sleep count. Seven or eight hours per night? Done. 

There's so much that's been written about activity tracking devices that I'm sure I'm not breaking any ground on this post. And, with any piece of technology, it's easy to find a few faults. My only qualm is the minor stretching on the sides of the band after a few ins and outs of the tracker. You need to take out the tracker to charge it.  And, a heart rate tracker would be a cool feature. Overall, I'd be shocked if you bought one of these and didn't like it.

It's still not too late to reach your New Year's fitness goals, and if you need a little push, I'd highly recommend a Fitbit Flex. 

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