We have written extensively about the on-going lawsuit against Fitbit. The company’s heart-monitoring technology was called “wildly inaccurate” and Fitbit was accused of false advertising. The lawsuit alleges that readings “don’t count every beat” and sometimes show dangerously low BPM numbers, which may pose major health risks to certain users.
The jury is still out on how precise wrist based fitness trackers really are when it comes to tracking heart rate at high intensity activities, or for that matter when it comes to counting calories or tracking sleep. There are other reasons, though, why your Fitbit device may not be churning out accurate statistics. These have nothing to do with the hardware.
It seems that some of us have come up with creative ways to fool our fitness tracker and are using these tactics to log extra steps. You might be thinking, this is beyond my comprehension. Cheating on Fitbit? Why would anyone do this?
Enter workplace fitness competitions.
Some companies are running office “step competitions”, some of which offer financial incentives, in an effort to encourage employee fitness. In pursuit of victory, some overly ambitious workers are finding some not-so-honest ways to get ahead, and boost their step counts without actually doing the exercise.
Not that we have tried it, but apparently strapping up your fitness tracker to a puppy can mean logging up to 30,000 steps on the device in a single day. Another tip? It helps if you’re short and therefore need more strides to cover the same distance.
Essential reading: Choosing the right Fitbit tracker
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, people have reported attaching their Fitbits and other activity trackers to hamster wheels, power tools, ceiling fans, and even their pet dogs to drive up their step count!
Dan Adams, a sales executive from Ogden, Utah, entered a friendly contest with two co-workers to see who could make the most steps in a week. When he saw that he was trailing, Mr. Adams taped his Fitbit to the blade of an electric saw and left it vibrating. A few hours later, the saw’s vibrations had registered 57,000 steps! Mr. Adams has since become a Youtube hit with a video titled “The secret to winning Fitbit challenges”. The video has attracted more than 16,000 views!
Fitbit wouldn’t discuss manipulation of fitness trackers. A spokesman said the company’s products “help motivate millions of users to achieve their goals and to change their daily behaviour.”
“It is a game of cat and mouse,” says Mike Tinney, CEO of Atlanta-based Fitness Interactive Experience, which uses games to encourage activity in corporate challenges.
“If there are loopholes, players find them and exploit them.”
We found a few more innovative ways on the internet that people have found to cheat their fitness tracker. We don’t recommend you try this at home!
Tempted to cheat and strap it to my 4yo. She doesn’t stop moving!
I ran back-to-back marathons totaling 52.4 miles and still had fewer steps than a co-worker who spent the weekend entirely on a snowmobile.
Don’t use a Fitbit myself, but could you tape it to your lower jaw and score steps for talking and chewing?
Wrap it around spoke of car too.
A good friend of mine spent all day painting. A mere 46,000 steps round his shed with a brush in hand.
My Fitbit thinks I’m walking when I’m riding my Harley so I do thousands of steps! It’s annoying but a good way to cheat.
I accidentally discovered that directing music is a way to cheat your Fitbit into thinking you’re taking steps.
I used to wear a Fitbit wristband. The funniest miscounts were for playing the piano and whisking batter to make chocolate chip cookies.
My mom really gave me her Fitbit so she can cheat her steps.
We took a van tour around Sicily, including some back country roads. A Fitbit will show several thousand steps after sitting on the bus for a morning or afternoon.
I traveled to Darjeeling in the Himalayas in a jeep. Due to the road condition the Jeep could only travel at speed of 5 to 10 miles an hour for long stretches while climbing the mountain. I got many tens of thousands of steps and hundreds of floors by sitting.
You know you are lazy you use a fan to cheat on your Fitbit challenge.
I got 25,000 “steps” from a 2 hour car ride down one of China’s less well maintained roads.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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