Besides my meter, CGM, and OmniPod, I’m constantly carrying my Fitbit with me. Why? It’s one of the non-diabetes-specific tools I use to manage my diabetes.
If you’re unfamiliar with a Fitbit, it’s really just a high-tech pedometer. It comes in a few different models, but I’m equipped with the Fitbit flex. The flex is a narrow wristband with a nondescript display that lights up when you tap the wristband, or once you’ve met one of your fitness goals for the day. The wristband holds a tiny tracker that syncs with an app on your smartphone or to your computer when you insert it in the USB port. When you sync the tracker, the app or your computer will show you your daily progress in terms of the number of steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, how many miles you’ve traveled, and how many active minutes you’ve accumulated. Additional exploration within the Fitbit app will show you data from previous days and the flexibility to modify your daily goals. For instance, if you want to travel a total of 5 miles daily or get 10,000 steps per day, you can set these goals for yourself and go about your routine to accomplish them.
So how exactly does my Fitbit help my control of my diabetes? It’s a constant reminder to me to keep moving. Diabetes is usually better managed when you’re more active; after all, it can occasionally be faster to remedy a slightly higher-than-you’d-like blood sugar with 15 minutes of exercise rather than waiting for a correction bolus of insulin to kick in. And generally speaking, I find that my blood sugars on a given day where I get at least 10,000 steps (or more!) are better when compared to a day that I’m sedentary.
Plus, the Fitbit flex is designed to monitor additional activities, such as water and calorie intake, weight loss, and hours slept. Of course, these are optional and I have yet to put some of the dietary ones to the test, but they could be useful if you’re considering making some lifestyle changes. I have experimented with the sleep monitor, though—it’s interesting to compare my sleep graph with my CGM graph. I’d guess with a fair amount of confidence that the CGM is more accurate than the sleep monitor, but it’s definitely visible on both graphs when I wake up or am restless in the middle of the night due to a low or high blood sugar.
I’m a fan of my Fitbit and I like that it encourages me to be more active. What are some of your favorite non-diabetes gadgets and why?