AUTHOR’S NOTE: Although I didn’t follow this advice myself, please consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen. Additionally, the exercise regimen I described in this blog post is my own exercise regimen, and others may find a different exercise regimen better suited to them than mine.
As someone who has battled with obesity since childhood and has been trying to get in shape in recent months, I’ve become well aware of the rise of activity trackers, such as FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin Vivofit, and so on. These are electronic devices, usually worn in a similar manner to a wrist watch, that are designed to monitor number of steps taken, heart rate, and so on.
However, there are two reasons why I don’t have or use these types of devices. First, they’re very expensive. Many models of these activity tracker devices are a few hundred dollars in price. I can find far better things to spend a few hundred dollars on. Second, In the case of FitBit, they’re facing a class-action suit over allegations that they give inaccurate heart rate information. FitBit users in California, Colorado, and Wisconsin have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that two FitBit models are giving out wildly inaccurate information about the user’s heart rate:
Fitbit customers from California, Colorado, and Wisconsin filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging that two 2015 Fitbit models—the Charge HR and the Surge—don’t offer accurate heart rate readings. As the Verge, which first reported the news, points out, Fitbit also dealt with a class-action suit in 2014. In that case, customers were getting rashes from the Fitbit Force.
In the current suit, Fitbit users assert that the LED “PurePulse” heart rate monitor in the Charge HR and Surge doesn’t offer accurate readings. “Plaintiffs and many consumers like them have experienced—and testing confirms—that the PurePulse Trackers consistently mis-record heart rates by a very significant margin, particularly during exercise.” Good thing no one uses their Fitbits while exercising. One plaintiff claims that her heartbeat was actually double what her Fitbit said during a personal training session.
You can read the class-action lawsuit here.
For someone with a medical condition that requires them to have their heart rate and/or other vital signs monitored during exercise, getting inaccurate information from an activity tracker could lead to health problems not being noticed until it’s too late.
I’ve spent several months trying to find an exercise regimen that I’m comfortable with, and, in the past week, I’ve stuck to the following exercise regimen:
- 45 minutes of racewalking — Believe it or not, racewalking is actually an Olympic sport, although I’m not a competitive racewalker. Basically, racewalking is similar to running, but with the requirement that at least part of one foot be in contact with the ground at all times. I racewalk around my kitchen table, I time myself using the kitchen timer function on the microwave in my kitchen.
- Several minutes of weightlifting using detergent bottles filled with water — Instead of using dumbbells, kettlebells, or other types of actual weights, I use a pair of 75 fl. oz. bottles of laundry detergent filled with water (roughly 4.9 lb. each) as weights. I can do many dumbbell and kettlebell exercises with these weights.
- Several minutes of unweighted exercises — Types of exercises I do without weights include lunges, stretching, arm circles, leg circles, calf raises, leg raises, and standing crunches, and squats, among others. Sometimes, I’ll do punches and kicks as well.
Most importantly, I don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep that exercise regimen.