What is a Fitbit and how does it work?

Wearable technology has come a long way in the past decade. Fitbit is an American manufacturer of wearables and fitness technologies and is one of the biggest players in this field. But what is Fitbit and how does it work?


Learn all about Fitbit, the company’s products and services, and what they can do for you.


What is Fitbit?

Fitbit is an American manufacturer of wearable fitness trackers. The company’s first product, the Fitbit Tracker which it launched in 2009, was an instant hit. In 2014, the company also released more activity trackers and a companion app for mobile.

Today, Fitbit has an entire ecosystem built around its apps. What started as a simple step tracker has grown into a full-featured activity monitor that can help you balance your weight, improve your lifestyle, and even track your vital signs!

You wear a Fitbit activity tracker on your wrist like a watch. It tells the time, but it also does a whole lot more. Modern Fitbit devices have sensors on the bottom that can monitor your blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, and steps you take.

Although Fitbit devices now offer full functionality, they were originally designed simply to monitor your steps and basic activity. Some older models can even clip onto your clothes, although most are usually worn on the wrist.

The company was acquired by Google for $2.1 billion in 2021. This led to a series of concerns over Google’s use of health tracking data that Fitbit had acquired over a decade. Some have even decided to permanently delete their Fitbit accounts.

What features does a Fitbit offer?

Fitbit trackers have come a long way in terms of functionality since their introduction. Here are some of the many features offered by Fitbit devices.

Heart rate monitoring

Fitbit trackers have photoplethysmographic sensors, which are the little green light you see flashing under the tracker. This light basically monitors the volume of blood in your wrist and uses it to calculate the number of heartbeats in a minute.

When you exercise, your heart rate increases and your Fitbit tracker will tell you how high or low it is. It also gives information on how you can improve your performance and keep your heart rate in a healthy range.

Follow-up exercises

Exercise tracking is an important feature of all Fitbit trackers. According to the American Heart Association, getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week is recommended.

Fitbit uses what’s called Active Zone Minutes to help you understand how much you’ve exercised and how much of your goal you’ve reached. It starts with 150 active zone minutes per week, but you can change this goal.

Fitbit trackers can identify different types of exercise and place them in three different heart rate zones: Cardio, Peak, and Fat Burn zones. It uses your heart rate to determine what zone you’re in and even gives you challenges to focus on. This is great for people who want to improve their fitness and keep them motivated.

Body Metrics

Some Fitbit models are also able to track other health metrics, such as oxygen saturation, breathing, your menstrual cycle, and even stress levels. Some Fitbit models also let you know your sleep quality when you wear them at night and warn you when you’re not getting enough sleep. One of the newer Fitbit models, known as the Fitbit Luxe, offers more accurate fitness tracking, including swim tracking.

How Fitbit trackers work

There are a number of different Fitbit trackers available in the market, with different price points and varying features. However, the main feature of all Fitbit trackers is a pedometer.

Fitbit devices have a three-point accelerometer that tracks your movements. It gathers the data and translates it into digital signals to measure your physical activity and the steps you have taken. Fitbit devices also have a GPS sensor that tracks your movements to let you know the routes you’ve taken.

Fitbit devices use a proprietary algorithm to track a wearer’s movements and record every step. For example, traveling on a bumpy road or driving a car may affect the accuracy of the step count.

Sleep tracking on Fitbit works by tracking changes in your heart rate while you sleep. A Fitbit also tracks your reduced movements while you’re in bed to determine when you’re sleeping. However, if you toss and turn a lot in bed, it could mean that you are not sleeping.

Add personal statistics

To function properly, Fitbit requires access to a lot of personal information. You will need to provide all of this information when you create your Fitbit account. The information you must provide includes:

Fitbit also lets you track your daily meals and log calories. You can log your meals and see how many calories you eat and how many you burn in a day. If you do relatively less activity, Fitbit will remind you to get up and start exercising.

Fitbit Premium Membership

Fitbit Premium is a paid service launched by the company to provide personalized and actionable guidance to help users achieve their fitness goals. It’s worth mentioning that while you don’t need Fitbit Premium, the company is aggressively marketing it to existing users.

Fitbit Premium offers value-added features such as guided programs to help users achieve their fitness goals. It also lets you see your sleep quality in more detail, making the Sleep Score more comprehensive than the conventional Sleep Score you get without a subscription. Plus, you can access a wider range of personalized workout routines and programs and get advanced insights into your physical activity.

Is Fitbit a good choice for you?

If you’re considering buying a fitness tracker or smartwatch, going with a Fitbit is a great choice. They’re available at a cheaper price than many other smartwatches, and they offer many of the same features, but with a primary focus on fitness. There are also different Fitbit devices to choose from, so you can find the one that best suits your budget and needs.

Maria D. Ervin