Making Fitbits Work for Mom

My husband bought me a fitbit HR last month before a trip to Canada. I absolutely love it, BUT it does not count my “mom” steps!

You know… “mom” steps. Simple things like holding a baby, pushing the stroller, or pushing a shopping cart. Essential things that all moms must do.

Here is how a fitbit counts steps {from fitbit itself}:

Fitbit trackers have a finely tuned algorithm for step counting. The algorithm is designed to look for motion patterns most indicative of people walking. One condition for a motion pattern to be recognized as a step is the motion must be large enough. The algorithm implements this by setting a threshold. If a motion and its subsequent acceleration measurement data meet the threshold, the motion will be counted as a step.If that threshold is not met, the algorithm won’t count the motion as a step. Other factors can create enough acceleration to meet our threshold and therefore cause some over counting of steps, such as riding on a bumpy road. Equally, it’s possible for the algorithm to undercount (not meet the required acceleration threshold).

In plain english, your ARM MOTION and foot step must be involved in order to count.

The problem each “mom” step has is that each of these require our arm to be stationary. I discovered that each walk with the stroller was not counting! That means that literally thousands of steps were not being counted each day. No fair!!! I wanted to reach 10,000 each day like I had on vacation.

At first, I blamed my children’s little legs for slowing me down. Then one evening, when I realized I had less than 200 steps to go before hitting 10,000, I started reading my book while pacing my floor. After about 10 minutes of walking {way more than should be necessary}, I gained 42 steps! My arm was holding the book rather than moving with my steps. Grr…

So, I started testing the various tasks I did each day and discovered that with my fitbit on my wrist, my “mom” steps were not counting.

{Yes, I know these are very much so first world problems, but I wanted that little burst of pride I got when my fitbit vibrated to alert me I had achieved my goal. Shallow, yes. Still, what I wanted.}

How to resolve this and make my steps count!

I thought about putting the fitbit on my ankle, but

  1. Fitbit does not recommend this
  2. I don’t know if I would realize if it fell off, wasting money, and
  3. I didn’t want to look like a mom on house arrest.

So, I tried my belt loop. This worked really well!!! The first test was a biggie – the zoo! I easily achieved 2,500 just walking to an exhibit in the back. Great!image

New problem… I don’t always wear pants with belt loops. I do wear workout gear a couple days a week. Hmm…

Solution! Fasten the fitbit around one of the tank top sleeves. It’s not the most attractive, but it counts the steps and I will definitely be aware if it falls off.

Now, ALL of my steps count each day. Take that fitbit! #momwin

I am posting this as this was simply something that I was not aware could be an issue  and so I figure if I didn’t know, other mamas might not either. Don’t get frustrated, simply figure out a solution that works best for you.

Have a good day!


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