If you are new to knitting and a fitness buff or want to lose a couple of pounds, you might have wondered if your new hobby is affecting your Fitbit.
Mixing the old with new technologies sometimes works, but what if it does not? Like in this case, knitting, which dates back to ancient Egypt, could affect your activity tracker. So, will knitting affect my Fitbit?
The simple answer to the question is yes, Fitbits tracks your hand’s motions when you are knitting, and it might even count this movement as your activity for the day.
Fitbits are placed on the wrists and have a sensitive motion detector that monitors the swaying movement of your arms, so yes, knitting might be why your Fitbit is a little bit off when counting your calories burned for the day.
If you are feeling a bit naughty, you can even substitute knitting for a way to cheat your way through those steps taken daily. But, of course, nothing beats a good stroll, and that would defeat the purpose of the activity tracker in the first place.
What to do, then? While some people would like to sit in their favorite chair while knitting their current project, you can hack the system and knit while on the go. This way, you are not actually cheating when your fit bit says that you have taken the required 10,000 steps for the day.
The repetitive motion of knitting tricks the activity tracker into thinking you are up and about. You might be bored out of your mind stitching away, curled up on your sofa, and surprised to know that your Fitbit is telling you that you have reached the goal for today’s calorie burn. This conflict may frustrate some, but not enough to choose one from the other.
An excellent and easy trick is simply removing the fit bit when you are in the knitting zone. Without the Fitbit in your hand, you will not be cheating, and it will give you a more accurate assessment of today’s activity level.
For those who do not want to part with their Fitbit even for a while, a good tip is to put it on your non-dominant hand. In this way, the intricate movements and flicks of the wrist will not be counted as steps by the activity tracker, giving you more accurate monitoring of steps taken for the day.
You can also tighten the wristband on your Fitbit. Do not be afraid to fasten the band a little bit tighter; this way, it will not shake as much. The tracker’s shaking movement sets off the counting of the steps.
Do not be deceived, though, because although knitting is a sedentary activity, it requires a lot of focus and attention to detail, thus burning calories in a different way. Knitting, in fact, can burn up to 102 calories per hour, which is not bad considering that you get an excellent sweater after your project is done.
What Do Fitbits Track?
Fitbits are relatively new. A Fitbit is simply an activity tracker you wear on the wrist, much like a watch. This is a cool gadget to own when you want to keep track of your daily activities, but what does it track exactly?
Fitbit tracks your steps taken in a day and also your active zone in minutes. It can also track how many calories you have burned in a day. It is not only limited to daily activities or chores; it can also monitor your sleeping habits.
If you are a fitness buff and want a more accurate calculation of your daily exercise, there is also an option for that. There are options for running, walking, cycling, swimming, or lifting weights, and some Fitbits will also track your water and food intake.
All of this with just a touch of a button. The information gathered in the Fitbit is directly wired to your phone and into its App.
Fitbits has come a long way since its first release in 2009; with the latest Fitbits, you can now monitor your pulse, blood, and heart rates. It was an instant hit in the technology and fitness industry, hitting two birds with one stone.
Some Fitbit can monitor even your body metrics such as breathing, oxygen saturation, stress level, and even your menstrual cycle. All of these are nice, but the primary purpose of the Fitbit is to act as a pedometer or step tracker.
Inside every Fitbit is a three-point accelerometer that monitors movement, and this explains why the device counts it as steps when knitting and moving the wrist with the Fitbit. The Fitbit is also equipped with a GPS sensor that follows your location to know if you have walked or stayed in one place.
How Accurate Are Fitbits?
Fitbits are not too accurate. It may be called a smartwatch, but it is not smart enough to detect if the movement counts as an official activity or if this is just a fluke.
For example, the device uses an algorithm to track the owner’s movement, but it will not know if this movement is due to you traveling in a car over a bumpy road. It will count it as steps taken because there is movement in the wrist, and second the GPS tells the Fitbit that you are moving from one place to another.
Ever wonder how Fitbits monitor your sleep through the night? Well, a Fitbit will track your heartbeat as you sleep; it also tracks reduced movement to interpret it as a sleep cycle.
So if you toss and turn at night, it will interpret the data as you being awake for those times. This is not an accurate way of determining sleep, but this is the best we have in this sort of technology so far.
How Many Steps a Day Is Considered Very Active?
Now that we have determined that a Fitbit is mainly a pedometer or a step tracker, it is nice also to know how many steps per day are considered very active.
Still, before answering that question, it is also nice to know that the usual daily goal steps are 10,000, and these many steps per day should be the target steps for many adults to attain health benefits.
A study has shown that a minimum of 10,000 steps per day will produce healthy weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and improved glucose tolerance and also help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. But for elders and children, 10,000 steps per day is not recommended.
Now, people who walk 5,000 steps are considered sedentary. If you are in the range of 5,000 to 7,499 per day, you are considered low active, and somewhat active is 7,500 to 9,999. Active people have 10,000 or more steps per day, and highly active people have more than 12,500 steps per day.
Walking is the best way to lose weight because it is not too physically demanding, and you can move at your own phase. You can also start at any fitness level.
A pound of body fat is 3,500 calories, and if you walk 10,000 steps every day, you will lose one pound per week, which will add up by the end of the year—giving a literal meaning to a new year, a new you.
Does Moving Your Arms Count as Steps?
So now we know how Fitbit works, we can conclude that it is not an accurate way of counting steps as you can literally stay put and wave your hands, and it will count it as steps.
If you are wearing your Fitbit on the wrist when you move your arms around, then the sensor will detect it as acceleration, which will be considered steps.
Many characteristics may factor into the algorithm, including the amplitude and frequency of the 3D accelerations and patterns of steps. You should consider this when buying an activity tracker because different activity trackers have different results for the same activity.
On the other hand, Fitbits may also not count steps if your arms are stiff while walking. It is also not accurate at a slow phase of walking, and Trackers are also less accurate if you have a gait issue.
A more accurate way of tracking your steps is if you put your tracker closer to the center of mass near your hip. This will prevent it from counting unnecessary movements.
Interestingly enough, during a study at the University of Pennsylvania on smartphones versus fitness-tracking wearables, it has been found that smartphone activity-tracking apps are a more accurate way of determining calories burned than Fitbit’s.
It even says that a clip-on pedometer is a more accurate way of counting steps than a fit bit. I guess this is one of those cases wherein you cannot beat the old way of doing it.