Has anyone else ever wondered why the fitness/activity trackers that are currently all the rage are made for your wrist when a big part of their purpose is to count your steps?
I didn’t really ponder the thought until I had a conversation with my mom this week about the Fitbit my dad bought her for her birthday. (Side note: Almost everyone in my immediate family has a Fitbit and involve one another in workweek challenges. It’s maddening, but it’s how we stay connected.) She was given the more expensive Fitbit Charge HR, and honestly, the price is the only reason she still wears it at this point. She often forgets to put it on during the day and commented that she felt that the tracker wasn’t obtaining an accurate count of her steps. I agreed, noting that while it does encourage me to get moving, it doesn’t take account of my steps when I do exercises that may be more intense than conventional cardio, but don’t require much use of my arms. That includes some of my favorites: cycling, the Stairmaster, the elliptical machine, and yoga.
“You can’t do everything with your hands,” Mama Uwu said. “So that’s why I sometimes put my Fitbit on my foot. I find that it gives me a better count of everything.”
From there, a light went off in my head: “Why don’t we wear our fitness trackers around our ankles?”
So I decided to take my mom’s lead and wear mine around my ankle. But that didn’t really work–because I don’t have the ankles of a tiny dancer. So, I opted to clip my Fitbit around my laces, tested to make sure that the app was counting my steps by walking back and forth from the water fountain to the machines, and then proceeded to get on the Stairmaster.
Now, when I usually do 30 minutes on the machine, I do nearly 200 flights of stairs, which should equate to a few thousand steps. However, because my hands are locked to my side on the handlebars, despite my feet moving in a frenzy, my tracker doesn’t really count all the hard work I’m doing.
But this time around, the tracker counted my steps, helping me meet my average goal of 10,000 steps in a day before I even hopped off of the machine (my steps were already around 6,000 when I got on the stairs after cardio Thai box). I walked home with it on, and by the end of the evening, my Fitbit was applauding me for being an “overachiever” and racking up another 2,000 steps during my walk from the gym to the train, and from the train to my house, the latter struggle taking me about 15 minutes.
Impressed with the accuracy, I wanted to know if anyone else had opted to switch out wearing their tracker on their wrist for wear on their foot. As it turns out, there’s a large number of people who do, despite companies like Fitbit claiming doing so could damage the product and bring about inaccurate counts. Many have reached out on social media to ask why they don’t make an ankle option:
“We want an ankle FitBit option. We are multi-tasking (walking with our kids in strollers, walking to work holding our water, walking home carrying our groceries) and the wrist-only option is frustrating us.”
“I work out very strenuously on a bow flex treadmaster. My Fitbit doesn’t recognize this exercise at all even though my heartbeat is steady at 125+ for an hour. Nor does it register my steps (iPhone registers about 8000, Fitbit catches around1000). This is my main exercise in winter. Thinking of returning Fitbit. Very disappointed. Had lightbulb moment and tried ankle. Guess what? It registered almost the exact amount I get from my cell phone, so I guess I’ll carry on. But its seriously a disappointment.”
“I started wearing mine on my ankle a couple of weeks ago. Much more accurate. Recommended or not, its nice to have my steps actually tracked. I am in constant motion with work, but 98% of the time, my hands are full and my arms aren’t moving, so I wasn’t getting much in the way of step credit, even though I easily log 5 miles a day.”
The company thanked customers for their feedback and suggestions and then directed them to Fitbit’s FAQ page, but that’s about it…
Still, they do offer pocket clip options (the One and the Zip) that seems to be wearable for any part of the body, so if you’re looking into getting in on the fitness tracker wave, those type of models might really be your best bet.
Despite still wearing my Fitbit on my wrist (force of habit), I do think I will go the foot route when it comes to the exercises and actions that require less upper body movement. And considering what everyone has to say about their results, you probably should too.
Have you tried wearing your fitness tracker on your foot? How did that turn out?