Personal Nonsense

Getting Dumber

I’m probably going to ditch my fitness tracker within the next six months. Maybe this is a 40 thing, but I’ve been examining why I use “smart” things I do and if they’re worth it. I was super early on Amazon Echo, pre-ordering the first model, and we ditched it a couple years ago. We were using it for a kitchen timer and a music speaker and nothing else, but it was listening to everything we said. That’s sort of an awful trade.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my Fitbit. It’s annoying. I wear it all the time, but I have to charge it twice, three times a week. It always starts doing something I don’t want it to when I shower. If I run in sleeves, the sleeves cause it to stop tracking my run and do all kinds of things that aren’t tracking my run. I’ve been putting up with these minor annoyances for quite a while, and now I’m asking myself why. Let’s run down why I started using it to begin with, and see if those reasons are valid.

The reason I got any non-dumb watch was to track my runs with a GPS. Several years ago, I wanted to know how far I was going, how long it took me to get there, and what my heart rate was. I was a less experienced runner, and I thought these things would help me train. And they did. But nowadays, if I run, I know where I’m going and I have other tools to map distance. I could know how long it took without a GPS. And the heart rate is nothing I really use. I’d lose some interesting stats like number of steps and elevation and whatnot, but that’s not really helpful. I don’t need to wear a fitness tracker every day to track runs anyway. I could do that with a running watch, or just my phone.

The next use was tracking my steps. This is something I started doing after I got my first running watch, but not the reason I got one. Tracking my steps helped me stay active in that first year of the pandemic, and it helped me start losing weight. Today, if I don’t hit my step goal, I don’t really care. I know I’m going to have days where I’m more active and days when I’m less active. Missing my step goal isn’t the end of my world, and I make no effort to hit it. I could replace this with some sort of exercise calendar.

I’ve used my Fitbit to check out my daily fitness stats, like heart rate and sleep and stress. These are all useless. Looking at them has done literally nothing for me. I look at this stuff maybe once a month. I don’t really need this.

Now that I type this all out, I can say that I need to know what time it is, and I’d like to be able to track my runs, and that’s about it. Both of these things could be done with my phone, and both could be done with a running watch that I don’t wear and charge and wash and sleep with everyday. I thought I’d enjoy some of the social aspects of having friends on Fitbit but that never coalesced. I can stop feeding all my daily PHI to Google.