Garmin Vivofit – An Athlete’s Take

As a runner, triathlete, and gadget geek I have gone back and forth on activity trackers over the years. As a triathlete/runner I just didn’t see any use for one. I used to own a Fitbit One but eventually it vanished, as any tiny device that lives daily in my pocket is destined to. I liked seeing my steps and I think when I wasn’t as serious or consistent with my training it was a good tool to keep me moving.

When I lost it I didn’t rush to replace it for one simple reason: I didn’t really know what purpose it would serve me. I think that was the right decision at the time but then why did I buy a Garmin Vivofit? My goal when I owned a Fitbit was to help me get active and lose a little weight. I don’t need help with either of those anymore.

What I do need help with is the fact that I work a desk job and don’t move much during the day. Anyone who has a sedentary job has probably seen the trend of standing desks over the past few years. Research has started to show that being seated for long periods of time is just not good for the human body. The fact that I workout in the morning and/or afternoon doesn’t change the fact that being seated for hours at a time is not good for me.

A month or two ago after reading more about it (again) I decided I needed a solution to help remind me get up throughout the day. I considered my options. Phones have come a long way but to my actual surprise, there is not a single Android app out there that has the capability to say “Hey, you’ve been sitting for an hour…go take a walk”. That’s all I wanted. Sure I could set up some timers to similar effect but I’d have to remember to do it. I wanted something that knew automatically when to start or stop the timer.

So that took me back to the activity trackers. There were only a few that even did this. Fitbit’s Surge HR, the Jawbone UP and the Vivofit. The Vivofit doesn’t have an audible or vibration alert…simply a bar that shows up on the screen. Really the Vivofit has the smallest number of frills compared to anything else. But it also doesn’t need charging and as a Fenix 2 user, my data is already in Garmin Connect.

So that takes me back to the original question of if Vivofit is worth the cost. You can get the first iteration for $80 on Amazon. The question is targeted specifically at someone who is an athlete. Do I feel it has any benefit in my training? Not a bit. I don’t suggest buying one for the sake of counting steps. I promise if you run 3 – 4 times a week, you’re plenty active and if you’re a triathlete who trains bike & swim as well, you don’t need a pedometer to tell you that you move a bunch.

If your job, however, is like many people and you sit around all day then I would highly recommend it. It has really made me aware when I haven’t moved for a while. Once that red bar pops up, I notice it pretty quickly and take that opportunity to get up and walk around for a few minutes. I do tri because I both enjoy it and I like that it keeps me healthy & fit. This is just another tool to keep me healthy.


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